EXTENT OF COMPLIANCE WITH GOVERNMENT FINANCIAL REGULATIONS IN LOCAL GOVERNMENT ADMINISTRATION IN IMO STATE

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CHAPTER ONE INTRODUCTION Background of the Study The worth of any local government is determined by the quality and quantity of services it renders to the people at the grassroots. Local governments are the third tier administrative structure in Nigeria, created to bring government closer to the people at the grassroots and render social services to the people (Agba, Ogwu and Chukwurah, 2013). According to Agi (2002), local government is a political authority set up by the federal government as subordinate authority for the purpose of dispensing or decentralizing political power. Akpan (2005) defined local government as a separate tier of government that enjoys some reasonable measures of autonomy, with elected representatives as officials especially in a democracy. Local government, therefore, is a political subdivision of a nation which is constituted by law and has sub-national control of local affairs including the power to impose taxes or to extract labour force for prescribed purposes. According to Oguonu (2004), the success and the effectiveness of local government depend largely on the financial resources available to the individual local governments and the way these finances are utilized by the local government administrators in the course of the administration. Administration covers almost every sphere of activity involving cooperation action. Different meanings have thus been attributed to the concept of administration.According to Johnson (2009), administration is concerned with the determination of the corporate policy, the coordination of finance, and operational performance of routine office tasks, usually 16internally oriented and reactive rather than proactive. In the local government administration, administrators are those saddled with the responsibility of managing both human and material resources in order to improve the standard of living of the people. Local government administration deals with gathering, processing and communication of information. One of the basic functions of the local government administration is the utilisation and management of its financial resources. The responsibility for the management of local government finances lies collectively with all members of staff. According to the model financial regulations (2009), the revenue officer, treasurer, internal auditor, and accountants are the principal personnel in the management of financial resources in the local government administration. The revenue officer is an individual who collects revenues such as taxes and dues on behalf of the local government. They shall ensure the collection of revenue and shall continue to account for them and render returns to the local government treasurer in accordance with the financial memoranda and other existing financial regulations. It is the duty of a revenue officer to: collect promptly all sums due to the local government, to keep such books of account and other records prescribed by these financial memoranda and the treasurer as are needed to ensure that all revenue and other monies due to the local government and for which the revenue officer is responsible, are collected in full. Revenue officer is to record in a revenue collector?s cash book details of all receipts of revenue and the payment of such revenue collections to the treasury or a bank pending the payment to the treasury or a bank, to safeguard all revenue collected by placing it in the safe or cash tank provided by the local government, to keep all his revenue earning books in a lock and key when not in use. The revenue officer is also responsible for paying all revenue collected for the local government to the treasury or bank at intervals prescribed by the local government, to present all his revenue earning books, accounts books and cash to the person responsible for checking his accounts when required to do so and to submit used, partly used and unused revenue earning books, license books and relevant documents to the treasury once a month or at such lesser intervals as may be prescribed and to return all exhausted revenue earnings books to the official from whom they were received.Revenue officers in the local government are under the treasurer. The treasurer is the chief accounting officer and head of the finance department of the local government. The treasurer as the chief finance adviser to the local government shall be in attendance at executive committee meetings and other committees to provide advice concerning the financial implications of proposed policies, the state of the local government?s finances and financial matters generally. The treasurer is responsible for the administrative control of the finance department of the local government; perform duties as chief accounts officer of the receipts and payment of the local government; responsible for the budgetary control and supervising the accounts of all departments of the local government; prepare and publish monthly and annual financial statements of the local government; be a signatory to all local government cheques, vouchers and other contractual documents; responsible for the maintenance of sound accounting and internal control systems; custodian of security documents of the local government; ensures that accounting systems as laid down in the revised financial memoranda for local government are complied with by all the departments and supervising the accounts for all departments of local government. The treasurer is also responsible for ensuring that: there is strict compliance with the financial memoranda in the finance and other departments of the local government. All the instructions relating to expenditure of public funds by the financial administrators arewritten and no payments are made unless properly authorized. All accounts books, records, vouchers, cash and securities are produced for check or audit, inspection as and when required by the internal auditor. Internal auditor is an officer of the local government charged with the responsibility for conducting internal audit of the management of the finances of a local government. The internal auditor is to provide a complete and continuous audit of the accounts and records of revenue, expenditure, plant, allocated and unallocated stores where applicable. The internal auditor is responsible for carrying out an independent appraisal of the accounting, financial and other processes of the local government with the following objectives: to assist in protecting the assets and interest of the local government by carrying out a continuous examination of activities in order to detect fraud, misappropriation, irregular expenditure and losses due to waste extravagance and mal-administration; to secure the continued maintenance of soundly based systems of control with each area of departmental responsibility; to review and, where necessary, make recommendations for the improvement of systems, control and procedures to ensure that they remain adequate in the light of changing circumstances and are adhered to in practice. It also the duty of the internal auditor to monitor the use of resources in the pursuit of the defined objectives of the local government and to ensure that local government accounts is reconciled by the accountants. Accountants are essential to the financial management of the local governments. The primary responsibility of accountants involves intense monitoring of accounts payable and receivable. They are in charge of the daily reconciliation between bank and local government account. They are also required to ensure that all monthly transactions are accurately recorded and they additionally assist financial analysts in updating revenue tracking sheets and processing loyalties. Other activities of the accountants include participating in monthly, quarterly and yearly accounting cycles and preparing of monthly financial statements. Accountants are not signatories to any account of the local government. The financial administration are involved in financial affairs and in particular, are concerned with ensuring that within their field of operations and responsibility, proper value is obtained for money spent. Section one, article one of the revised financial conventions (1991) provides that it is the responsibility of the principal staff to approve, debate and when necessary, amend local government annual budget, subject to the Chairman?s veto, which could be overridden by a two-third majority of the council. It is also the responsibility of the financial personnel to monitor the execution of projects and programs in the local government annual budgets to ensure that there is compliance with provisions of the financial conventions in the local government for better accountability to the citizens. Accountability in the local government system involves the obligation imposed by financial regulations on the administrators for keeping accurate records of financial resources, documents, property and funds. In recent years, the financial resources of local government activities have increased from N32.7 billion in 1999 to N69 billion in 2013 (Ajayi, 2000). This increase in local government funds with expected increase in activities had brought with it an increased clamour for more accountability. Financial administrators of the local governments who manage the funded activities seem to rarely render adequate and timely accounts of their stewardship to neither the local government authority nor the general public. The public needs to receive reliable and understandable reports of account in order to access the performance of those entrusted with public resources. For the council to make meaningful services, in form of provision of basic amenities, such as rehabilitation, construction and maintenance of roads, creation of employment opportunities for the people and payment of staff salaries as at when due, money is undoubtedly needed. Hence, for the local government areas to perform her constitutional functions effectively and efficiently it should not only be well funded but such funds should be judiciously utilized and accounted for. This implies that for the local government areas to function well there is need for proper management and accountability of available resources especially financial resources. This can only be possible through strict adherence or compliance to government financial regu

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EXTENT OF COMPLIANCE WITH GOVERNMENT FINANCIAL REGULATIONS IN LOCAL GOVERNMENT ADMINISTRATION IN IMO STATE

2,800.003,000.00 (-7%)

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