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The challenges of financial control and accountability in Nigeria is a fundamental problem. The level of corruption in all levels of government on the country is very high. Thus, this study aims to examine these challenges. To ascertain the adequacy of rule and regulation governing financial control in Akwa Ibom Water Company Limited, to find out who is or are responsible for financial control and accountability in Akwa Ibom Water Company and to examine the process of accountability in the public sector. Akwa Ibom Water Company was surveyed and the primary source of data collection is the questionnaire. The data were analysed using simple percentage method and present in tables. It was found out that, the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the financial regulation and other relevant laws govern financial control and accountability in Akwa Ibom Water Company Limited. Also, the reporting procedure as mentioned in the regulations are duly followed. However, it was discovered that the influence of the politicians hinders proper financial control and accountability. It is recommended that, accountability mechanisms such as annual budget and internal control should be strengthened to reduce the level of corruption in the company. Declaration of an assets prior to taking up political office should be a basic requirement not on paper but added to all public functionaries.
1.0 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
The Nigerian society is filled with reports of wrong practices such as ghost workers on the payroll of ministries, extra-ministerial departments and parastals, frauds, embezzlement arson and corruption (Okwoli, 2004). Appah and Appiah (2010), argues that cases of fraud is prevalent in the Nigerian Public Sector, and huge amount of Naira been lost through one financial malpractices or the other. This constitute a drained to the nation resources with far reaching and attendant consequences on the development or even socio-economic and political programmes of the Nation.
According to Bello (2001), the bane of public sector financial mismanagement in Nigeria started since the oil boom period. A period with structurally weak control mechanism that created a variety of loopholes, facilitated and sustained corrupt practices. Okwoli (2004) added that, since then, billions of Naira is lost in the public sector every year through fraudulent means and this represents only the amount that is ferreted out and made public.
However, more substantial or huge sums are lost in undetected frauds or those that are for one reasons or the other hushed up. The absence of accountability and proper financial control of public affairs in the country has caused this Appah (2010) points out that, with the substantial increase in the numbers and monetary value of public sector activities, there is an increasing demand for control and accountability of public officers who manage these activities of the public.
According to Ruffer and Sevilla (2004), the basic idea of control within the public sector is to ensure that an organization is operating within its legal and policy responsibilities as well as achieving the objective set for it. With an increasingly devolved public sector, ensuring conformity with government policy objectives control of expenditure and monitoring of actual agency performance has become increasingly complex. A proper system of financial control in the public sector, provides assurance that management systems are operating well. The responsibilities and budget of department are set by government and the legislature. Thereafter, control and accountability are exercise through a wide range of mechanisms which interactive, with each other (Dubrick, 2009). The executive which is one of the mechanisms, through the ministers office and the departmental structure, will then monitor the ongoing performance, so as to ensure accountability.
According to Okoh and Ohwogibo (2009), accountability reflects the need for government and its agencies to serve the public effectively in accordance with the law of the land. They further added that, accountability is a fundamental value for any political system, as such citizens should have the right to know what actions have been taken in their name and the means to force corrective actions when government acts in an illegal, immoral or unjust manner. Kaufman (2005), argues that, an emphases on accountability by citizens is one aspect of the growing emphasis on eliminating corruption and promotion transparency in government. According to Onuorah (2012) “accountability is about being answerable to those who have invested their trust, faith and resources to you “as such, public control and accountability of finance are essential component for the functioning of our political system, so regular budget cycle is necessary.
The regular budget cycle offers the central financial agencies and the legislature and opportunity to review financial probity, efficiency and performance. The audit process, both internal and external, provide regular, independent review of financial management and performance. However, the failure of the value system, legislatures, budget cycle, high cost of doing government business, etc have all resulted to the high level of corruption, improper financial control and lack of accountability by public officers prompted this study.
1.1 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
The issue of proper financial control and accountability in Nigeria is a fundamental problem because of the high level of corruption in all levels of government in the country. The transparency international Global corruption perception index in October 2010 ranked Nigeria 134 from its 130 position in 2009 and 121 in 2008. The 2010 consumer price index (CPI), drawn on a scale from 10 (highly clean) to (highly corrupt), showed that Nigeria scored 2.4 and is ranked 134 amongst the 178 countries surveyed (Transparency international, 2010).
According to Saba (2011), huge amount of money is lot through fraud or due to internal control inadequacies and other criminal acts, that have drained the nation’s of her resources. These assertions are not difficult to believe if we accept that the strength of any government depends on the success of its development programmes, which largely depend on an effective implementation of it policies by its bureaucrats and technocrats.
However, Akwa Ibom Water Company Limited is not an exception to this since it incorporation in 2001 the purpose for setting it has not been achieved. Yet huge amounts of funds are injected yearly, fund that cannot be accounted for. Therefore there is need to find out why the fund have not be applied properly and accounted for. However, no study has been conducted to find out these factors that are militating against this hence, this study is conducted to fill this gap.
1.2 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
1. To ascertain the adequacy of Rules and Regulation governing financial control in Akwa Ibom Water Company Limited.
2. To examine the process of accountability in the public sector.
3. To find out who is or are responsible for financial Control and Accountability in Akwa Ibom Water Company Limited.
4. To find out the hindrances of financial control and Accountability in Akwa Ibom Water Company Limited which is not exception to public sector
1.3 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
1. What are the rules and regulations governing financial control in Akwa Ibom Water Company Limited?
2. What is the process of Accountability in the public sector?
3. Who is or are responsible for financial Control and Accountability in Akwa Ibom Water Company Limited?
4. What are the hindrance of financial Control and Accountability in Akwa Ibom Water Company Limited?
1.4 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
This study of completion will reveal the inadequacy of rule of control and accountability.
Firstly, the finding would show the relevance rules and regulations that would guide in proper accountability.
Secondly, by revealing the factors and hindrances of financial control and accountability, the problem of lack of proper accountability would be solved.
Thirdly, the people responsible for know their duty which is to demonstrate that has been conducted in according with agreed rules and standards and should sit up.
Lastly, the finding would show the process of accountability that would serve as a guide for public officers.
1.5 SCOPE AND LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
The study focuses on the challenges of financial control and accountability in Akwa Ibom Water Company Limited Uyo. This scope is chosen due to the following constraints:
1. Time constraint – difficult for me to combine lectures with writing project and term paper in the class.
2. Ignorance – lack of knowledge or information on the part of the respondents posses a limitation as to the completion of the questionnaire.
3. Secrecy and confidential – lack of cooperation from the respondents on their perception of some information as being confidential to the organization.
1.6 ORGANIZATION OF THE STUDY
This project is divided into five chapters, chapter one provides the background of the subject, matter justifying the need for the study, chapter two presents the review of related literature, chapter three deals with the research methodology, chapter four centres on data presentation, analysis and interpretation and chapter five deals with the summary, conclusion and recommendations based on the finding of the study.
1.7 BRIEF HISTORICAL BACKGROUND OF THE ORGANIZATION
Akwa Ibom State was created in 1987 while Akwa Ibom State Water Corporation was established by the Edict No.9 of 1988 as a sole water agency for sourcing, treating and distributing water to urban and semi-urban communities of the state. On 1st February 2001, the corporation was incorporated into a limited liability company known as Akwa Ibom Water Company Limited as per certificate No. RC 400373 to reduce inherent civil services bureaucratic bottleneck and consequently increase efficiency and productivity in both human and material resources management. The objective is to ensure satisfaction, and prompt payment of water bills.
As a result of this incorporation, the state House of Assembly enacted a law repealing the Akwa Ibom Water Corporation law CAP 140 and transferred the assets and liabilities of the corporation to the company. This law whose short title is “Akwa Ibom Water Corporation Repeal Law 2001” was assented to by executive Governor on the 10th June, 2002.
The company has a Board of directors which is the apex policy making body, a management committee made up of four (4) general managers. Managing director as the Chief executive office the general managers and as follows:
(1) General Manager – Water Engineering Services
(2) General Manager – Services (Finance Account etc)
(3) General Manager – Technical Services
(4) General Manager – Administration and Corporate Affairs.
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