PRUDENT MANAGEMENT OF PUBLIC FUND
(A CASE STUDY OF ENUGU STATE MINISTRY OF WORKS, HOUSING AND TRANSPORT)
This research project was undertaken with a view to examine critically the way public funds are being managed by accounting officers in government and its ministries with particular reference to Enugu State Ministry of Works, Housing and Transport. Public funds are misconceived by some people as belonging to “nobody” and consequently, people entrusted with such funds exercise little or no care in their management resulting to outright deviation from the legal budgetary classification as stated in the constitution.
However, effort has been made in this research to explain those things that aid embezzlement, misappropriation and manipulation of government accounts and money. The contribution of Auditors in ensuring accountability in management of publicly owned funds were discussed. The effects of the solution to unanswered audit reports and queues, which have been a cause for concern in the recent times have also been delved into.
Also, in the research work is constructive explanation of the scope, objectives, basis, concepts and principles of accounting and financial control applicable in the government sector as an aid to solving the problems enumerated above. It is therefore suggested in the study that accounting officers in public sector should get acquainted with the techniques and principle of government accounting for prudent approach to their job.
TABLE OF CONTENT
1.1 Statement of Problem
1.2 Purpose of the Study
1.3 Significance of the Study
1.4 Statement of Hypothesis
1.5 Scope of Study and Limitation of the Study
1.6 Definition of Terms
2.0 Review of Related Literature
2.1 Meaning of Public Fund
2.2 Classification of Public Fund
2.3 Sources of Revenue for Enugu State Ministry of Works and Housing and Accounting for Public Fund (Accountability)
2.4 Guiding Rules for Government Accounting
2.5 Management of Public Funds/Expenditure Control
2.6 The Roles of Internal Audit Unit in Management of Public Funds
2.7 The Roles of External Auditors
2.8 Areas of Co-operation between Internal and External Auditors in Public Funds Management
2.9 Integrity Factory
3.0 Research Design and Methodology
3.2 Study Area
3.3 Sources of Data
3.4 Methods of Investigation
3.5 Problems and Limitations of the Methodology
4.0 Presentation and Analysis of Data
4.2 Test of Hypothesis
5.0 Summary of Findings, Conclusion and Recommendations
5.2 Discussion of Findings
The management and control of the public fund is the heart of governmental administration! ‘About three decades ago, the scope of financial management was circumscribed to raising of funds. Whenever needed and little significance used to be attached to the financial decision making and solving. The urge to improve and use public funds wisely or maximize wealth in the case of private sector has lit to a shift of emphasis “from raising funds to efficient and effective use of fund”.
Consequently, the roles and responsibilities of financial managers and public officers entrusted with the management of public funds have widened in scope. Not only will the officer make sure that funds are made available in good time and for the right length of time but also he will ensure that such funds so generated are properly and prudently accounted for. In other words, the officers should exercise due care, skill, diligent and prudence in discharging of their duties. This, if done, will promote the purpose of government accounting which is to demonstrate propriety of transactions and their conformity with established rule, norms and restrictions.
It is lack of prudence in management of public funds and outright deviation of government accounting officers from the established rules that have necessitated the check being carried out by both internal and external auditors at intervals. These checks carried out immediately internal and external auditors are called “AUDITING”.
However, Enugu State Ministry of Work and Housing is chosen as the case study because it is one of the biggest expenditure heads of the state government as well as one of the investment priorities of the government. In the light of this, coupled with the incessant non payment of worker salary and poor execution of government contracts, it is necessary for an investigation to be conducted to assess what the ministry is doing with regard to prudent management of funds allocated to it. This is the sole aim of this research project work.
1.1 STATEMENT OF PROBLEM
The rate of involvement of accounting officers in acts ranging from mis-appropriation to embezzlement of public funds has put to question the integrity and reliability of those entrusted with management of public funds. Civil servants who are involved in accounting work or who direct expenditure votes regards government money as “National cake” which belongs to nobody and therefore swindle it carelessly. These fraudulent attitudes of those entrusted with the management of public funds result to several problems in the society today like irregularity in payment of worker’s salary, denial of workers salary, denial of workers legal entitlement, poor execution of government contracts mismanagement of government assets, lack of maintenance of our assess/roads, to mention but a few. The efforts of the Internal Audit Unit established by the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to deal which prudence management of public funds have not helped matters either. Some of the Auditors reported are lately implemented or out- rightly not implemented at all.
This observation has motivated the researcher to choose this topic as to analyse and assess the probable effects on non-compliance to establish rules by people in control of public funds. Efforts are being made to usher in some appropriate recommendation which the writer deemed necessary to remedy the effect.
1.2 PURPOSE OF THE STUDY
The purpose of this research work is to examine critically the ways public funds are prudently managed by accounting officers in government ministries, particularly in Enugu State Ministry of Works and Housing. Efforts are also made to x-ray the consequences of mismanagement of fund to government and the society in general.
Furthermore, the researcher tries to evaluate both proximate and remote causes of mismanagement of public funds by those entrusted with it. Finally, the writer proposes measures that should be adopted to stem the present mismanagement or misappropriation of funds by some accounting officers especially those controlling expenditure votes in the ministry.
1.3 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The researcher from the numerous topical issues in the economy has carefully selected the topic of this study. The rate at which accounting officers are involved in financial misappropriation has made the job of auditors (internal and external) more challenging.
However, the problem remains that some of the Auditors findings are never implemented. On the other hand, the auditors cannot go scot – free some of them due connive with the accounting officers of government to siphon public funds, after which a camouflagious report will be given to hide the fraud.
No wonder why government had established “tribunal on recovery of public funds and property”. The establishment of the “tribunal” gave rise to recovery of huge amount of money hitherto forgotten due to no implementation of audit report or non compliance of the auditors to the doctrine of skill and diligence in discharging their duties.
The researcher therefore hopes that this study will be relevant to:
1. The management of Enugu State Ministry of Works and Housing and state in general to modify, restructure and strengthen the machinery. If necessary for achieving greater and effective control over public funds and accountability.
2. Future researchers and fellow student on how to achieve greater financial accountability and control over public funds.
3. leacher of the subject of government accounting who finds some issues raised in this study worth of discussion with their student.
More importantly, this study has been a source of inspiration and the writer find it very valuable to her academic advancement. It has exposed her to so may things which ordinary would have escape her notice.
1.4 STATEMENT OF HYPOTHESES
The ministries in Nigeria have been performing below expectation as a result of undue influence and pressure put on government ministries from very high quarter, lack of qualified personnel, inadequate funding and integrity factors on the part of the staff and officials of these ministries.
Deriving from the above statement, which of course forms parts of the hypothesis of this study, the following operational hypothesis are generated.
HO: The concept of prudent management of public funds has been properly applied by Enugu state ministry of works and housing.
HI: The concept of prudent management of public funds has not been properly applied by Enugu state ministry of works and housing.
HO: State government has been adequately implementing auditors findings and recommendation in the prudent management in our ministries.
HI: State government has not been adequately implementing auditors findings and recommendation in the prudent management in our ministries.
HO: The independence given to auditors in the ministry is sufficient for the funds to be prudently managed.
HI: The independence given to auditors in the ministry is not sufficient for the funds to be prudently managed.
1.7 DEFINITION OF TERMS
i) GOVERNMENT: Enugu state government
ii) HYPOTHESES: Tentative statement made by a researcher, which may or may not be true.
iii) CROSS – POLLINATED STUDY: A study of top management, middle management and lower management
iv) MISAPPROPRIATION: Use of public money for purpose other than that provided by financial instruction and appropriation laws.
v) APPROPRIATION LAWS: Financial laws passed in a regular manner by the House of Assembly of state on how to spend the revenue government.
vi) PUBLIC FUNDS: Includes the revenue of the government any trust or other money held by any officer in his official capacity.
vii) OFFICER: Any person in the employment of government.
viii) REVENUE SHORT ACCOUNTED: This represents amount dividend collected constituting arrears of revenue.
ix) SELF ACCOUNTING UNIT: This refers to ministries of department that are empowered to maintain all relevant records and books of accounts to records the transactions and events relating to or affecting it.
x) BELOW-THE LINE: These are non-budgetary accounts that appear in estimates.
xi) ABOVE-THE-LINE: These are budgetary accounts that do not appear in the estimate.
xii) TRANSCRIPT: Comprehensive records and account of government.
xiii) VOTES: Fund placed at the disposal of a departmental of ministry
xiv) HEADS: Code used to recognize a particular expenditure or revenue within a ministry.
xv) SUB-HEADS: Code used to recognize a particular sub-division of a head.
xvi) VEHEMENT: Transfer of savings on one or more subheads to meet excess expenditure on another sub-head in the same vote.
xvii) ACCOUNTING CODE: Manual showing the accounting system operating in the ministry