Public Sector Accounting In Nigeria(A Case Study Of Financial Control System In Enugu South Local Government Area)



One of the most researched and least understood variables of public sector accounting is how the accountability and stewardship of financial control is conducted.  People have been speculating on how the funds generated are managed but now researchers have conducted systematic investigation of funds and leakage in local government revenue system.

Even with this, there is still an increasing difficulty and doubts in establishing the fact that the revenue generated are put in good use.

There is also an evaluation of the source of revenue to the local government, and the impact of financial control system in the local government revenue system particularly the revenue collection points where all derivable revenues are kept for safe custody.

Secondly, to find out if really there is grant from the federal and state government to the local government areas and how it’s being spent.

Finally to know the reason, the local government cannot employ their resources in funding projects.

Findings and recommendations have gone a long way to establish proper financial control system in local government and it’s improvement




1.1            Introduction

1.2            Purpose of the study

1.3            Significance of the study

1.4            Statement of the problems

1.5            Hypotheses formulation

1.6            Scope and limitation

1.7            Definition of terms


2.1            Definition

2.2            Budget

2.3            Financial Regulations

2.4            Cash Accounting

2.5            Local Government Reform

2.6            Local government accounting functions

2.7            Sources of revenue to the local government

2.8            Rural development functions


Research Design & Methodology

3.1            Research design

3.2            Area of study

3.3            Population

3.4            Sample and sampling procedure

3.5            Sources of data

3.5.1    Interview method

3.5.2    Questionnaire method

3.6            Procedure for data analysis.


Presentation and Analysis of Data

4.1            Presentation

4.2            General data

4.3            Test of hypothesis

4.4            Analysis of survey results



5.1            Summary of findings

5.2            Recommendation

5.3            Conclusions




1.1            INTRODUCTION

Public sector is that sector of the economy established and operated by government or agencies distinguishable from the private sector organized on behalf of the whole citizens.

The public sector is devised despite the privatization and commercialization of some government agencies and parastatals; the sector is still large.  Almost all the activities in the public sector have to do with political choice, which plays a vital role in resource allocation.

It is a government accounting. It is also defined as composite activity of collection, analyzing, recording, summarizing, reporting and interpreting the financial transaction of government units.  The government either provides services on natural scale or else redistributes funds, which are managed on semi-autonomous basis.

In Nigeria for instance, public sector accounting is based on the principal of fiscal federalism.  This implies that the fiscal structure o the government is a reflection of its federal and political structure.

The Federal Republic of Nigeria is made up of three levels of government namely Federal, State and Local governments otherwise known as the three tiers of the political structure.  All the three tiers of government are guided b the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria form which the government decides on who gets what and how.  Allocation of resources to the three tiers of government is granted and this is executed through the process of budgeting.  Unique thing about public sector accounting is that legal instruments demand and delimits the form the financial statement should take; many a time they follow budgeting classification.

In public sector, we have the federal government accounting, state and local government accounting respectively.  The accountings in the federal and state level are the same in that both are made up to the same ministries, parastatals, agencies and departments.

The 1976 local government reforms and the 1988 implementation guideline on application of civil service reforms in local government service established a standard or uniform multi-purpose single tier government structure throughout the federation, consequently, each local government account system is a replica of the other in terms of personal position and functions accounting system.  Financial information flow budgeting and budgetary control system approved source of revenue and general administration significantly, a local government is allowed only six departments viz: Personnel, Works and Housing and Transport, Health and Social Welfare, Education, Agriculture and Natural Resources, Financial and Supplies, Planning Research and Statistical Department, out of the six departments, only the finance department headed by the local government treasurer is authorized to collect and keep all the revenue.

According to financial control management Act of 1958, which charged the federal ministry of finance as the only government department that is responsible for making the finance of the federal republic of Nigeria.  Financial management control Act 1959 also empowered the federal ministry of finance to issue finance regulation, which are binding on other units.

The economics of government has shown that a government can be described as a group of people statutorily mandated to generate public funds and convert such funds into social goods and services (public utilities) so as to bring about socio-economic and political development in their area of control.  The extent to which a government is able to provide public goods and service depends on the amount of revenue generated both internally and externally over time.  This is why a government should devote enough revenue generation and improve its committee to the provision of infrastructural foundation to the development.  However, to carry out its functions and achieve its objective effectively, a government must be viable.  Its total expenditure must be less than its total revenue so that the remaining revenue may be channeled towards capital profit development.

In Nigeria the government income earnings management is such that each tier of government has its own exclusive source of revenue as spent out in the constitution, with the state and local government receiving the major part of the annual revenue from the federal government and the local government as well gets revenue allocation from the state government purse.

From the above, local government source of revenue can be derived and classified into two external and internal.  The external source is from the federal and state government revenue allocation, which are made according to revenue sharing formally adopted at the time internal source of local government revenue are as stated in 1979 constitution where the local government is directly responsible for its revenue policy, strategy, revenue collection and expenditure.

The local government has power to fix rate and fees payable by the people in its jurisdiction and to determine how the fees are collected.  Although some local governments are more viable than others in terms of financial base, the full realization of a local government revenue generation and collection depends on its effective management.  Unfortunately, most local government lose about sixty percent (60%) of their internal generated revenue that is more than three hundred and fifty million (N350m) annually to leakage in the collection and management present.  It is not perplexing that in spite of the unalternative salary structure in the local government system and most repellent working environment, professionals and unskilled persons still strive to gain employment in the local government system while those already employed state anything to remain in service.  This is why some concerned and nonpolitical local government chairmen and other officials to beef up their local government revenue are usually frustrated by unscrupulous revenue collectors.

Most local government however either by omission or commission neglects otherwise highly viable sources of revenue while they clamuor continuously for increased statutory allocation.  Within this set-up, it is convincing that the local government can actually generate and spend more funds on capital project development if roper managerial concept is adopted by the chairmen and more so where a stable federal government system is in place.

However, one of the major reasons for this is the persistent political instability in the country such that both appointed and affected local government chairmen serve their tenure of office in a situation of high uncertainty, which neglects careful, planning and systematic implementation.  Still the chairmen hardly know much about the local government system before their appointment or election and have at the back of their minds a profit making venture and so they spend a better part of their times trying to figure out what is happening in their internal revenue generation exercise.

1.2            PURPOSE OF THE STUDY

The major aim of this research is to aid local government and improve on their revenue generation and collection, to that point where all collection are actually collected and safely paid into the treasury and hence know how the collected revenue is controlled or managed.  This evaluation will be done in the following ways:

(a)                          To investigate and expose how and where local government money leakage in their internally generated revenue and collection process occurs.

(b)                          To recommend strategies by which local government can detect and prevent revenue leakage.

(c)                           To determine also the problem facing local government chairmen in the control and management of public fund.

(d)                          To investigate on the accountability for stewardship and management of funds.

(e)                           To determine the problem facing the local government on the public funds.

(f)                            To monitor performance and evaluate the management of public funds in local government.

(g)                          To provide information that will be useful for planning and budgeting in local government.

(h)                          To provide financial information useful for determining and predicting the economic condition of the government units.


This research work will be of great important basically to five groups such as the local government area under study, other local government areas, the readers, future researchers and the researcher himself as enumerated below.

(a)   This work is of importance to the researcher because this study is an academic exercise and part of the requirements for the award of a Higher National Diploma in Accountancy Department by the Institute of Management and Technology, Enugu.

(b)  For other local government areas with related problems of financial accounting officers to be aware of how to manage and control the funds of the public without being questioned in the course of accountability.

(c)   The readers of this project will be able to have profound knowledge of how revenue generated is managed and why there is leakage of the generated revenue.

(d)  It will help the local government area under study as a corrective device after their area of deficiency have been highlighted with regard to the generated and management of public funds.


One of the most researched and understood variables of public sector accounting in the accountability of their financial control system people have been speculating on how the funds generated are managed.  Only in recent years have researchers conducted a systematic investigation that yielded useful insight into the funds accountability.

The problems they have are:

(a)                           Whether the source of revenue available to the local government authority is enough for them.

(b)                           There is doubt that revenue generated is put into good use.

(c)                            There is misappropriation and leakage of revenue in the local government.

(d)                           At times public doubt if the means of revenue collection is flexible or not.

(e)                            An insight will be given into the impact of financial control in local government development.

(f)                             There is a particular concern on how the public finance is controlled.  This feasibility study of the financial control system of local government will critically make an assessment of the methods used by the chairmen and accounting officers in embezzlement of public funds.


A hypothesis is an intelligent guess or a conjectural statement of the relationship between two or more variables.  Hypothesis is formulated in this research work to provide an avenue to the solution to a research problem.

For the purpose of this study, I wish to test as follows:

H0:     The Financial control system in Enugu South Local Government is not adequate.

H1:     The Financial control system in Enugu South Local Government is adequate.

Where:        H0 is the null hypothesis

H1 is the alternative hypothesis.

This hypothesis will be tested at the end of this study from the analysis of the data obtained.

1.6            DEFINITION OF TERMS

(a)   Financial Regulations:

these are written rules laid down by most authorities to regulate their finance.

(b)  Fund:

A specified amount of money raised for a particular purpose.

(c)   Public Accountability:

This means that the persons charged with, determines drafts and carries out policy in central government.

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