THE IMPACT OF PUBLIC ACCOUNTANT IN THE IMPLEMENTATION OF ACCOUNTABILITY, PROBITY AND TRANSPARENCY IN THE FEDERAL CIVIL SERVICES
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The central idea of this study to out the impact of public Accountants (including Bursas of unity schools) on the implementation of accountability and transparency in the federal civil service, using the federal ministry of education Abuja as a case study. In the literature review, a lot of government publications and other related materials consulted. This review was able to define who a public accountant is as well as their roles and problems. A public accountant is a person or employee in the public sector who works in the accounts division of any government organization, which covers ministry and extra-ministerial department including parastatals at both state and federal levels. This research work therefore concluded that the impact of the public accountants hasn’t been felt positively because of corruption. Our recommendation among other was that public accountant and their noses should go on re-fresher courses and re-training periodically for corruption to be stamped out in the Nigerian policy.
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
According to Nwabueze (2005), public sector is made up of government owned parastatals, civil services and corporation established by government to offer services to the public at highly subsidized prices. Ani (2001), defines public sector as “that sector of the economy established and operated by the government or its agencies, distinguishable from the private sector and organized on behalf or the whole citizens”. One major attribute of the public sector is that they are not run for profit motive. The civil services are described as non-proprietary organization’ because there were no acquisitions of shares. The primary objectives of the federal civil service is to offer service to the citizens of the country and not to make profit. The civil service reform 1998 was use to tense the civil service. The main aim of the reform was to improve the well being of the members of the civil service.
Due to greater demands for regular appraisals and reviews of the financial performance of the federal ministry of education in Nigeria. Greater accountability and transparency have been demanded regarding the economic costs and consequences of public sector activities.
The corruption and looting of public treasury was a major problem in public sector accounting. Reports from office of statistics Lagos (2000) 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. During the president first maiden address to the nation immediately he was sworn- in as the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on 29th day of May, 1999. he stressed that accountability and transparency have suffered a lot of setbacks especially in the civil services. He therefore suggested best ways to eliminate these problems. He concluded by saying “when we consider how the public accounting and auditing can grow and develop. We are concerned not only in helping the public accountant or the auditor fill their position but also in helping the whole economy and the organizational structure grow and develop” (Obasanjo, 1999). From his speech the researcher suggested that the best ways to eliminate this ill in the Nigeria public service are:
- i) The effective use of public accountant
- ii) The effective use of legislation
iii) The effective implementation of government policies of programmes and
- iv) The effective use of auditors of the Federal Republic of Nigeria among others.
This concept should therefore make it wise for use to look more closely at the relationship between Nigeria and other countries of the world. And fro Nigeria to be recognized as a corrupt –free economy, the accounting professional must be in a position to balance the financial records of the federal government on daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, half-yearly or basis. This is because members of the public and the international community want to see results, see the economy grow and the professional produced the final output.
It was in an attempt to analyze the impact of the president’s address on the 29thMay, 1999 that this topic, the impact of public accountant on the implementation of accountability and transparency in federal Civil Service” comes to mind.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE 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 fair view of the accounting records. There are lots of collaborations in the utilization of public funds to the extent that funds allocated through the budget are not properly utilized. The annual budget for public (government) income and expenditure are at times late. What ever is the position with timelines of delivery, these budget are never reviewed in time and deviations are not investigated to ensure prompt remedial action which will re-direct and re-orientate plans toward budgeted levels.
Another shortcoming is the threat to continuity of production of qualified accountants who will replace older retiring hands. This point derives to a large extent form the very poor and unrealistic remuneration paid to the practicing accountant in form of salary.
Public accountants are place on government determined salary scales, unlike their professional chartered counter-parts whose fee for auditing and other professional services rendered are self determined.
The quoting system in the federal civil service has introduced mediocre unethical practices in the accounting profession. In a bid to fill in vacant position in the federal civil services, most of the unqualified personnel (mainly from certain ethnic groups of the country) loopholes for embezzlement and financial misappropriation. Merits were thrown to the winds.
Because of problems enunciated above have made the researcher to ask some questions such as:
– What is the strength of the public accountants in the implementation of accountability and transparency in the federal ministry of education?
– Which of accountability and transparency can be seen in the ministry of education?
– Is there any law guarding non-accountability and transparency in the federal ministries?
– What are the ways to show accountability and transparency in the civil services?
– Are there any controls to follow when showing accountability and transparency in the civil service?
1.3 THE OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The general objective of this research work is to determine the impact of public accountants in the implementation of accountability and transparency in federal civil service. Specially, this research work has the following objectives:
- i) To determine the relationship between the public accountants and their directors in the federal civil service.
- ii) To determine the effect of unqualified public accounts in the ministry.
iii) To determine the impact the public accountant will create in the implementation of accountability and transparency in the public sector especially in the state and federal civil service.
- iv) To determine the best way to improve on accountability and transparency in Nigerian economy.
- v) To determine the actual role of the public accountants in the implementation of accountability and transparency.
- vi) To determine whether public accountants in collaboration with their chief executives utilize judiciously all the allocations made available form the budget.
vii) To determine the causes of non-accountability and transparency by the public accountant in the ministry.
viii) From the findings to proffer some suggestions on the efficient means that should be adopted by the public accountants to ensure increase in accountability and transparency in the ministry.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
The following research questions are posed by the researcher, answers to which would lead to the solution to the problem under study:
- i) Is there any reporting system to show the extent of accountability and transparency in the federal civil service?
- ii) What productivity and work measure process are in place to implement the accountability and transparency in the federal civil service.
iii) How are plan and budgets generated from the federal ministry of education?
- iv) What is the monitoring and evaluation process in the federal civil service is like?
- v) How open is the system use in the federal ministries to show the accountability and transparency?
- vi) What are the causes of non-accountability and non-transparency in the federal ministry of education?
vii) What are the effects of unqualified public accountants in the ministry?
1.5 HYPOTHESES OF THE STUDY
The following hypothesis serve as a guide to the researcher in carrying out his study.
Ho: The public accountant and their directors in the performing of their work in the ministry do not Judiciously observe the approved system fro the utilization of the statutory allocation granted to the ministries.
Hi: The approved system fro the utilization of the statutory allocation granted to the ministries is Judiciously observe by the public accountant and their directors in the performing of their work in the ministry
Ho: The federal civil services do not show good reporting system for accountability and transparency.
Hi: The federal civil service does show good reporting system for accountability and transparency.
Ho: The systems used in the appointment of public accountants in the federal ministries have no connection with quota system method.
Hi: The systems used in the appointment of public accountants in the federal ministries have connection with quota system method.
Ho: There are no causes for non-accountability and non-transparency in the federal ministry of education.
Ho: There are causes for non-accountability and non-transparency in the federal ministry of education.
1.6 SIGNIFIACNE 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 shorting up the programmes of accountability and transparency of the present administration. It will help the government in the appointment of qualified public accountants is the ministries. By doing this, it will improve public accountability and show transparency in their duties. The researcher is of the view that this research work will address the problems properly, this returning accountability and transparency in the civil service and creates employment opportunities for the citizenry
1.7 SCOPE OF LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY
This study attempts to establish whether:
(i) The directors of departments utilize judiciously all the allocation made available to them or not and
(ii) To examine the impact of public accountants in the implementation of accountability and transparency.
This work is supposed to cover all the constituent of federal civil service spread over Nigeria but for some factors. One of these factors is time available to conduct the research. The time limit fro this study could not allow the researcher to reach every part of the country. There is also a factor of cost. The cost of covering all the constituents of federal civil service in each state in Nigeria is so high that the researcher cannot afford it given his present status as unemployed student (an applicant).
Finally, there is constraint of distance. The wide geographical areas in Nigeria while these civil services are situated make it impossible for the researcher to reach all. This distance connotes high transportation costs and risk of accidents.
As a result of these factors, the researcher has been forced to restrict this study to federal ministry of education in Abuja, which serves as the representative of others.