Almost all workers in the civil service especially those involved in government Finance Operations are well acquainted with financial control or at least some aspect of it. Some terminology like fund control, budgetary control, capital expenditure e.t.c. is not strange to most of these workers.
However, without doubt, one could say that very few understand the nature, need for objectives and efficiency of the financial system in government. Public accountability is not a new phenomenon. It is as old as man in his social relations with others. This is so because in ancient times. The account of estate, domains was examined by reading them out by those who compiled them to the persons in authority.
Thus, there was an element of answerability. This illustrates the stewardship function of accountability in government.
Today, public finance assesses whether one use of allocation of resources is better or yields more benefit than another. This makes public accountability more complex with serious consequences especially when decisions taken by public officer are brought under open and public examination.
1.1 The Ministry Of Finance
As it is in Federal Setting, a state ministry of finance is pivoted because of the roles it performs in relation to other ministries and parastatals of government. It is one of the every large ministry in the bureaucratic system of government.
Ministry is basically concerned with financial administration and the execution of government financial policies, which have been handed down in conformity with the national objectives of maintaining economics and monetary stability while pursuing sustained growth of the nation's economy. The ministry in carrying out its role of financial administration ends at the following among others.
- The development initiatives for the formulation of policies on fiscal and monetary matters.
- The harvesting and mobilization of internal financial resources development.
- The supervision and control of ministries departments and agencies of government in financial matters, Oshisami (1992).
1.2 The Commissioner For Finance
The commissioner for finance is the head of the state ministry for finance. Under the 1979 Federal Republic of Nigeria Constitution, the governor was the only recognized public office holder in the state as all others held offices in his pleasure.
The commissioner had no direct responsibility in law except that vested in him by the governor of state. However, civil service reforms (1988) brought about major changes in the administration and financial machinery in the public sector.
The changes are as follows:
- Each ministry of the government was given considerable autonomy in administration and financial matters.
- The commissioner was made the chief executive or chief accounting officer of the ministry, a function that was formerly vested in the permanent secretaries previously called director general.
- The budget department was hired-off the ministry of finance and transferred to the government office.
Generally, under any type of administrations whether military, parliamentary or presidential systems, the commissioner performs the following functions by virtue of the 1989 civil service reforms that made all ministries administratively and financially autonomous.
- Receipts and disbursement of government fund.
- Overseeing other ministries, reports are sent from ministries to ministry of finance by way of weekly. Monthly expenditure/ revenue returns.
1.3 The State Accounting General
The functionary is the head of state treasury department among others. He is responsible of all ministries and department within the Federal (State) and for compilation of financial statements of government . Oshisami (1992).
The Financial Regulation (FR) list many other specific duties of the accountant general of the Federation, many of which applied to the state.
Accountant general FR 24 (a) madates him to list in his Annual report; the “returns of arrears of revenue” FR 1.103 shows she should advise accounting officer when he receives the general interest warrant without which no interest money can be issued. The accountant-general should also cause inspection to be made to the accounts kept by accounting officers controlling expenditure, federal pay officer (sub-treasuries in state) sub accounting officer , interest holders, revenue collectors and other officer having monetary or financial responsibility. He is endowed with certain powers to write-off hoses of finds (FR 1506).
There are other situations in which the express approval of the accountant general is required before certain actions or procedures can be carried out. These are spelt out in the financial regulating and they include:
- The opening of bank accounts.
- The opening of advance —non-personal account.
- The variation to an existing procedure.
Accounting to the civil service (re-organization decree 1980) the functions of the accountant general include/training the accounting officer of the government.
1.4 Statement Of Problem
In the ministry there are some stipulated principles laid down by the government for effective financial control and accountability. Some of which are the constitution of federal republic of Nigeria. The financial regulation, instruction and budgetary control. Financial at control and accountability in Nigeria public sector organization is faced with a lot of problem. This is especially so in view of the public belief that there is a lot of embezzlement and other forms of financial recklessness going on in government ministries and departments.
The problems are, do their ministries adhere to principles led down by government for proper allocation and distributing of resources are government funds property controlled and accounted for in accordance to stipulated standard? Are the resources used judiciously in a manner beneficial to the entire populace and for the good of the society?
1.5 Scope / Limitations Of Study
The study is restricted to the Imo and Abia State ministries of finance, including impact of accountant-generals office in the ministry. This work will also look into the internal control system in the Imo and Abia ministries of finance to evaluate its effectiveness, efficiency and economy.
The limitation to the research work includes the uncooperative attitude of the respondents who were not willing to give confidential information and sometimes- based answers were given. Most of information and data needed for the research work were not easy to gather because some respondents believe that the information involved in gathering and processing the data into meaningful information was also short.
1.6 Operational Definition Of Terms
A budget is a plan of financial operation stating an estimate of proposes expenditure for a given period and the proposed means of financing it.
This simply means answerability that is a requirement on public servant entrusted with certain financial responsibilities to render an account of or answer for their actions to their superior officers.
It is the process which assures that financial resources are obtained economically and utilized efficiently and effectively in the attainment of the desired goals.
This simply means as the whole system of controls, financial and otherwise ;, established by the management in order to carry on the business of the enterprise in and orderly and efficient manner, ensure adherence to management policies, safeguard the assets and secure as far as possible the completeness and accuracy of the records.
Government finance refers to the wide range of activities undertaken by government in financial and economic matters.
Public Sector Auditing:
It is an independent examination of, and expression of opinion of the financial statement of an enterprise, by an appointed auditor in pursuance of that appointment and in compliance with any relevant statutory obligation.
It is the amount usually stated in percentage payable by a customer to the Bank on the amount borrowed under a revolving credit agreement.
It is a state of mind, which has regards to all considerations relevant to he matter or task on hand and no other.
It is simply means the determination of the appropriate cash Balance at the Balance Sheet date so as to know whether the internal controls for cash/cash transactions are efficient and effective.
This simply means the amount also stated in percentage payable by a customer on the unused portion on the fund under revolving credit agreement.