THE IMPACT OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT FINANCE ON EFFICIENT SERVICE DELIVERY IN NIGERIA

THE IMPACT OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT FINANCE ON EFFICIENT SERVICE DELIVERY IN NIGERIA

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CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1      BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY

Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa, with a population of 170 million, 65 percent of whom live in rural areas. In the pursuit of development at the grassroots, local government was created to provide efficient services to dwellers at the local levels. Everywhere in the world, irrespective of the system of government, local government is created to ensure efficient services at local level.In Nigeria, local government is the third tier of government whose major responsibility is to provide efficient services to the rural dwellers, a service that hinges on proper financing.

Finance, otherwise known as money or fund occupies a very prominent position in organisationsn, be they private or public. Indeed of the many factors that do affect organizational performances, none is greater than finance. Finance is the engine room of all organizations including local governments (Idahosa and Nchuchuwe cited in Olojede, Fajonyomi and Fatile, 2011).

It has become imperative in view of the fact that in recent time, since 1976, the roleof the local governments as a veritable instrument for rapid development of rural, and even the urbanareas have taken a central stage albeit without a corresponding access to prerequisite financialresources to meet this expectation. Interestingly, the sources of funds for this tier of administrativeauthority have continued to dwindle over the years with the ascendancy of both the central and state asthe key actors in the Nigerian political economy. The local government is relegated to the backstage.

Adedokun (2012), clearly made this situation explicit by asserting that “the federal structure of Nigeria constraints local government’s ability to mobilize and use revenue to meet their obligation in a sustainable manner”. He notes further that One of the recurrent problems of the three-tier system in the country is the dwindling revenue generation as characterised by annual budget deficits and insufficient funds for meaningful growth and development.

Therefore, it behoves the students, scholars and other stakeholders of public administration to tarry, and ponder on how this meagre financial resource could be properly and effectively harnessed in order to enable local governments implement their constitutionally assigned functions and responsibilities.

Undoubtedly, Finance and its prudent management are the bedrock of effective functioning of local government. It is against this backdrop that Tonwe (cited in Ojo 2009) argues that local government require finance to perform their statutory functions. The ability of the local government to do this is largely dependent on availability of fund, coupled with efficient management which constitutes the required catalyst necessary for timely execution and completion of their development projects.

Nigeria’s experience in local government administration, whether in military regimes or in democratic era, has clearly shows that local government is faces with daunting challenges in their mandate to promote development and provides essential services to the rural dwellers. Sadly, local government which is statutorily established to be the closest tier of government to the people is not doing its bidding coupled with the fact that resident population in it is denied the benefits of its existence. The failure of the local governments in the area of services delivery has made the citizens to lose their trust in government as an institution. In some areas, council officials are better known for the harassment of citizens than service delivery (Ajibulu cited in Adeyemi, 2013).

1.2      STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM

According to Ojo (2009) local governments have performed below expectations as a result of poor management. In recent time, lack of funds has often been attributed as the major problem which had hindered effective and successful execution and completion of many projects at the local government level. However, experience has shown the contrary that poor finance management, rather inadequate finance is the bane of local governments’ inability to achieve substantial development in their domain (Tonwe cited in Ojo, 2009).

It is common knowledge that local government has the weakest capacity to initiate and manage rural development programme. This is due to the fact that the quality of human resources available at local government level is seriously insufficient. Most of the officials are performing their function without the relevant qualification to perform effectively. As a result, the available resources for accelerated and sustainable rural development are inefficiently utilized for the purpose intended (Ocheni et al cited in Adeyemi, 2013).

However, the implication of this according to Ajibulu (cited in Adeyemi, 2013) is that local government is now considered as an extension of state’s ministry. The inherent nature of this problem has caused subservience, a situation where local government waits for the next directives from states government before embarking on any developmental projects. This has made local government an object of control and directives. Hence, it is important to investigate the impact of local government finance on efficient service delivery in Nigeria with a special reference to Ojo Local Government Area (LGA).

1.3       OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY

The main objective of the study is to examine the impact of local government finance on efficient service delivery in Nigeria. While other specific objectives are:

1.Investigate the impact of local government finance on efficient service delivery in Nigeria.

2.To determine the relationship between mismanagement of fund and development at the concil level.

3.To find out the relationship between local government internal generated revenue and development in Ojo LGA.

4.To provide plausible recommendations and way forwards to the problems of local government finance on efficient service delivery in Nigeria.

1.4        RESEARCH QUESTIONS

This research work shall be guided by the following research questions:

1.Is there any significant relationship between local government finance and efficient service delivery in Nigeria.

2.Is there any significant relationship between mismanagement of fund and community development at the local level.

3.Is there any significant relationship between internal generated revenue and community development in Ojo LGA.

1.5      RESEARCH HYPOTHESES

The following under mentioned hypotheses will be tested in the course of this research study;

Hypotheses 1:

Ho:     There is no significant relationship between local government finance    and    efficient service delivery in Nigeria.

Hi:     There is a significant relationship between local government finance       and    efficient service delivery in Nigeria.

Hypotheses 2:

Ho:     There is no significant relationship between mismanagement of fund and         development at the local level.

Hi:     There is a significant relationship between mismanagement of fund and           development at the local level.

Hypotheses 3:

Ho:     There is a significant relationship between internal generated revenue and    development in Ojo LGA.

Hi:     There is a significant relationship between internal generated revenue and    development in Ojo LGA.


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