An Evaluation of Service Delivery in the Public Sector in Nigeria: the Perspective of Nigeria’s Budget Process

INTRODUCTION

1.1 Background of the study

Providing more public services with less public spending is an ongoing challenge for all developing countries. The provision of public services in the country is the primary responsibility of the government, complemented by the private sector. Service delivery is more complex in the public sector as it is not just about meeting expressed needs, but finding out the needs that are not expressed, setting priorities, resource allocation, and publicly justifying and accounting for what has been done. In most developing countries, the public sector plays a significant role in service provision as it controls much of the economic resources. In view of this, public agencies have come under pressure and debate in recent years in terms of their efficiency and effectiveness in service delivery with respect to the needs and rights of citizens. This, according to researchers, is in line with the principles of New Public Management (NPM), which aims at meeting the needs of the citizens rather than those of the bureaucracy.

 In the light of ensuring public service delivery, attention has been drawn to public spending. Managing public spending provides useful insights about possible strategies for improving value for money. In that respect, stepping up the use of performance information in budget processes – “performance budgeting” – is an important dimension of the reforms undertaken by developed countries since the early 1990s, which Nigeria as a country is still staggering from since her democratic rebirth. Demands on social transfer systems have remained intense over the past two decades; spending on pensions, poverty alleviation programmes, and core merit goods (education and health) has continued to show an upward trend during these periods. Budget making and budget implementation involve the process of identification of public needs and the determination of the quality of goods and services to satisfy these needs through the political process, economic analysis, and the overall development plan objectives. The government prepares a budget in the form of public policy to serve as a driver through which her mission can be achieved. As good as Nigeria budget is with its lofty promises along side borrowing from international bodies to meet this budget, the performances which can be measured in terms of accomplishment is nothing to write home about.

1.2 Statement of the problem

The financing of projects for the provision of these services, such as education, health, agriculture, water and sanitation, power, housing and urban development, justice, defence and security, among others, is usually carried out through annual government budgetary provisions. However, the distribution/delivery of public services in Nigeria, just like in many other developing economies, is often fraught with discrimination, low quality and access, and a lack of fairness and equity between urban and rural areas. This discrimination in the provision of public services is responsible for the gap in development between urban and rural areas in Nigeria today. The budget process is far from reality and the disparity between budget and accomplishments is so wide and keeps on abating as years pass by. The question that could readily come to mind is why do we continuously experience these failures? Could it be that it is ill conceived or ill planned? Could it be attributed to poor monitoring and implementation? The need to provide answers to these questions gave impetus for this study.

1.3       Objective of the study

The main focus of this study is to examine Service Delivery In The Public Sector In Nigeria: The Perspective Of Nigeria’s Budget Process. Specifically the study seeks:

  1. To examine if thepractice of budgeting and budget implementation process in Nigeria has been effective.
  2. To examine what factors has led to poor service delivery in the the budget process of Nigeria.
  3. To suggest ways of getting out of the jinx of continual and repeated adverse budgetary performance.

1.4       Research Hypothesis

HO1: The Nigeria budget process and implementation performance is  low.

H1:  The Nigeria budget process and implementation performance is not low.

HO2Service Delivery inthe Nigeria Public Sector has not been effective

H1: Service Delivery inthe Nigeria Public Sector has been effective

1.5       Significance of the study

The study will be significant to the legislative arm, civil service and other public parastatal. The study advocated the concept of value Money Audit, due process and cost Audit. These concepts if properly applied alongside good public procurement philosophy will engender a strong legal, organizational and professional framework to make budgeting and budget implementation in the Nigerian Public Sector robust and effective. The study will empirically add to the body of knowledge and serve as reference material for other academia in related field of study.

1.6       Scope of the Study

The scope of the study focused on Service Delivery In The Public Sector In Nigeria: The Perspective Of Nigeria’s Budget Process. The study is however limited to Ministry of Finance, FCT Abuja.

1.7       Limitation of the study

The major limitations of this study is that the newness of the topics as assigned by the project supervisor posed a big challenge to the researcher. Lack of material such as textbook, journals, internet print-outs relevant to carry out the research and renovation of school library were banners to the study. The researcher also  encountered some constraint that was likely to hamper the pace of the study including the respondents unwillingness to participate in the study by refusing to give answers to the survey instrument, to overcome this kind of limitation, the researcher explained the purpose of the study to his respondents and solicited for their cooperation. Despite all these limitations, the research was successfully carried out.

1.8       Definition of terms

Service Delivery: Public Service is a service which is provided by government to people: either directly (through the public sector).Some key Public Services are: Health care, Education, Social services for the poor and marginalized. Infrastructure – Roads, Railways, Airports, Telecommunications, Electricity, Water.Effective public service delivery is an important instrument for boasting up the good governance. The model can be effective in ensuring public service delivery and updating the status of customer satisfaction which will ultimately reflect the good governance policy to be implemented, maintained and sustained.

Public Sector: Public sector simply refers to the part of the economy that is controlled by the government for the purpose of providing basic government services

Budget-Process: Budgeting is a process whereby future income and expenditure are decided in order to streamline the expenditure process. … Other important activities in the budgeting process include things such as forecasting, monitoring, controlling and evaluating the financial goals.

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