This research work is designed to achieve the specific objective of examining the degree of implementation of accountability, probity and transparency in the public sector especially in the state and federal civil service. The literature review helped to ascertain other writer’s view concerning the subject under study which explains how public accountant were able to utilize judiciously the allocation made to them. The data used for this research work was collected from primary source, using questionnaire. Against the background, invaluable and reliable discoveries were made. Finally the research recommended that the institute of chartered accountant of Nigeria and other related accounting training bodies should live to their responsibilities toward ensuring that their members maintain the ethics of the profession and code of conduct in practice. And also the use of quota system in the federal civil service employed should stop.
The Public Accountant In The Implementation Of Accountability, Probity And Transparency In The Federal Civil Service
1.1 Background of the Study
Corruption and looting of public treasury was a major problem in the public sector accounting report from office of statistics Lagos show that our accounting records are balanced in arrears and our financial records are hardly balanced daily, weekly, quarterly, half-yearly and yearly basis as appropriate. This was evidenced by Chief Olusegun Obasanjo during his first maiden address to the nation immediately he was sworn in as the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on the 29th day of May. He stressed that accountability, probity and transparency has suffered a lot set-back especially in the civil service. He therefore suggest that of the best ways to eliminate this ill in Nigeria public service are:
i. The effective use of public
ii. The use of effective legislature
iii. The effective implementation of government policies and programmes.
iv. The effective use of auditors of the federal republic of Nigeria among others.
He therefore concluded by saying “When we consider how the public accounting and auditing can grow and develop, we are concerned not only with helping the public accountant or the auditor fill their position, but also with helping the whole economy and the organization structure grow and develop” (Obasanjo).
The concept should therefore make it wise for us to look more closely at the relationship between Nigeria and other countries of the world. And for Nigeria to be recognized as a corrupt – free economy, the accounting profession must be in a position to balance the financial records of the federal government daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, half year or yearly basis. This is because members of the public and the international community want to see result, see the economy growth and the profession produces the final output.
The same goes for other facets of the economy as indicated above. The military system administration should be thrown to the winds as we have evolved democracy like other developed countries of the world such as United States of America, United Kingdom etc.
It was in an attempt to analyze the importance of the president’s address on the 29th May, 1999 that this topic “The impact of public accountant in the implementation of accountability, probity and transparency, in the federal civil service” comes to mind.
1.2 Statement of Problem
Public sector accounting in a corrupt society is a very big problem to the economy of the nation. This is because the financial records do not reflect the true and fair view of the accounting records. Therefore lots of collaboration in the utilization of the public funds to the extent that fund allocated through annual for the public (government) income and expenditure are at times late. What ever is the position with timeless of delivery, these deviations are not investigated to ensure prompt remedial action which will re-direct and re-orientate plans towards budgeted levels. Another short coming is the threat to continually of production of qualified accountant who will replaced older retiring hands. This system for a number of factors like inadequate infrastructures (for example, training materials, computers, library facilities etc) necessary for such programmes. This point drives to a large extent from the very poor and unrealistic in form of salary. Public accountant are placed on government determined salary scales unlike their professionals chartered counterparts whose fees for auditing and other professional services rendered are self determined. The implication of the foregoing deliberation is that while a professional body like institute of chartered accountant and its various programmes aimed at monitoring more closely the curriculum of their counterparts in the government employment are poorly taken care of.
Another shortcoming is the quota system in the federal service. The quota system has introduced mediocre and unethical practices in the accounting profession. In a bid to fill in vacant positions in the federal civil services, most of the unqualified personnel (mainly from certain ethnic group of the country) are employed to the detriment of the job, hence giving loopholes for embezzlement and financial misappropriation. Merits were thrown to the winds. In all this, helped the administrators and some members of the society to look down on the accountant as mere “house helps” and “rubber stamp” in the system.
1.3 Research Questions
1. In what way has the implementation of accountability transparency and probity affected the federal civil service?
2. What are the best ways to improve on accountability transparency and probity in Nigeria economy?
3. What are the actual role of the public accountant in the implementation of accountability transparency and probity?
4. Is the public accountant in collaboration with their chief executive in the judicious utilization of all allocation made from the budget?
1.4 The Objectives of the Study
i. To determine the degree of implementation, of accountability, transparency and probity in the public sector especially in the state and federal civil service.
ii. To determine the best way to improve on accountability, transparency and probity in Nigeria economy.
iii. To determine whether public accountant in collaboration with their chief executive utilize judiciously all the allocations made from the budget.
1.5 Statement of Hypothesis
Ho: Public accountant in collaboration with their directors (including principals) do not utilize judiciously all the allocations made available to them.
HI: Public accountant in collaboration with their directors (including principals) utilize judiciously all the allocation made available to them.
The testing of the hypothesis can be called out through the use of the draft of the federal government of Nigeria 1999, a year 2000 budget estimate on recurrent and capital expenditure using unity school’s allocation in the south-east geo-political zones on personnel cost and overhead cost respectively. A study carried out shows that a total sum of one hundred and fifty million, six hundred and fifty thousand and twenty four naira (150,650,024.00) was allocated to the ten (10) unity schools in the south east geo-political zone in 1999 as against one hundred and seventy six million and seventy two thousand five hundred and eight naira (176,072,508.00) in year 2000. Yet each of this schools had one problem or the other in the payment of teachers and non teaching staff salaries and allowances as at when due.
In overhead cost, a total sum of fourteen million seven hundred and twenty two thousand two hundred and twenty two kobo (14,722,222,20) was allocated in 1990 as opposed to seventeen million and thirteen thousand eight hundred and eight kobo (17,013,888,80). In the year 2000 (reference table C and D in chapter four) but this research discovered that most of the staff who were engage in official journey to their headquarters have not received their duty tour allowances and other claims on flimsy reason that funds were not available.
1.6 Significance of the Study
This study will be of immense help to the policy makers in the federal civil service of Nigeria who will be able to know and assert the adequate role of the public accountant in the service with a view to showing up the programmes of accountability, probity and transparency of the present administration. “Nigeria” for the purpose of this paper means “the federal republic of Nigeria including any area outside the territorial waters of the federal republic of Nigeria which in accordance with international law has been or may hereafter be designated under the laws of the federal republic of Nigeria concerning the continental shelf as an area within which the rights of the federal republic of Nigeria with respect to the sea-bed and subsoil and their natural resources may be exercise” constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria (1999).
The policy makers should see the public accountants as playing the role of a coach who exposes the skills and tactic and allows the players to play the game. This is because in everything an individual or a group of individual in varying professions do, there is a reason and purpose. For example, in a private organization this reason or purpose is referred to as an objective or goal. Therefore, government (public service) whose realm of operation is popularly referred to as the public sector has as its objective the governance of her people. This implies the tremendous responsibilities to grannies resources and allocates same towards fostering economics growth and improving the standard of living of the citizens of the nation. Again government is empowered by the laws of the land (constitution) to engage in contractual arrangement for the purpose of increasing the resources available to her in order to meet the requirement of governance, since its holds the wealth of her nation in trust for that nation. To this extent, the government of a nation owns her citizens the duty to account for the stewardship in the effective disposition of the resources entrusted to her (this is accountability).
For the government or the public sector to discharge her responsibility or stewardship effectively, there is the need to maintain proper records of the value of all programmes, activities and services synthesize and analyze the effect of government financial transaction, classify, summarize and communicate such information for purposes of future decision making or assessment of performance.
1.7 Scope of the Study
This study attempts to establish whether the directors of department utilize judiciously all the allocation made available to them or not, and to examine the impact of public accountant in the implementation of accountability, transparency and probity.
1.8 Limitations of the Study
In the course of this study, the researcher encounter some problems.
Firstly is the problem of data information, gathering data for this study was quite problematic.
Secondly the issue of inadequate financial aggravated the very problem encountered by the researcher.
Finally, time was a limited factor, it is very tasking combining classroom activities with giving to the field to collect information for the research work.
1.9 Definitions of Terms
Probity: Moral integrity, absolute moral correctness.
Transparency: The quality or state of being transparent.
Accountability: Responsible to somebody or for something.
Meritocracy: A social system that gives opportunity and advantage to people on the basis of their ability rather than their wealth or seniority.
Tin-gods: Somebody often in a position of minor authority who is regarded as behaving in a self important over bearing way.
Facet: The part of possible aspect of something e.g. an important aspect of our work.
Mediocrity: A quality that is adequate or acceptable, but not very good.