THE IMPACT OF FINANCIAL CONTROL INSTITUTIONS IN PROMOTING FINANCIAL ACCOUNTABILITY IN THE NIGERIA: A STUDY OF IMO STATE UNDER DEMOCRATIC REGIMES
Financial matters are so important that they receive constitutional recognition. To avoid abuse, the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, provides a series of checks and balances over public finance by sharing financial responsibilities among the Executive, the legislature and the Office of the Auditor-General. The research sought to evaluate the effectiveness of the checks and balances on public finance in IMO State. The research also set out to recommend measures that will enhance the discharge of financial accountability. In this research, four hypotheses were formulated and tested. The primary data was obtained through the administration of questionnaires, interviews and actual observation. This was supplemented with secondary data. The technique of simple random sampling was used in the questionnaire administration. The population of the study was 386 out of which a sample of 160 was studied. The chi-square (x ) test statistics was used to test the four hypotheses. Percentage analysis was used to investigate issues considered relevant to this research but were not covered by the hypotheses. The findings of this research indicate that the public budget is not a significant instrument of legislative control over public finance in IMO State; the reliance of Auditor- General on the financial statements prepared by the Executive arm of government does not significantly influence his performance; the quality of legislative financial oversight has a significant effect on the State Auditor-General and qualification of State Treasury staff is independent of the number of financial records kept by them. The research shows that budgetary non-compliance is quite common. Infringements on financial rules and regulations are also common. The Public Accounts
Committee of the State Legislature never met to consider the report of the Auditor- General between 1999 and 2003. The implications of these findings are that the legislature is unable to discharge its Constitutional responsibility using the public budget; the weakness of the legislature adversely affects the Auditor-General and poor financial record keeping is not solely attributed to the qualification of those who maintain them. The study recommends a balanced redistribution of financial powers among the Executive, the Legislature and the Auditor-General to promote the discharge of financial accountability in IMO State.