1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Nigeria local government system is as old as Nigeria creation. Even before the arrival of he British to Nigeria and introduction of modern system of local government, the traditional system of local governance exists. However, with the traditional system of governance, which was administered by the local people, the issue of financial control more often than not generates problems between the operators and the governed and atimes between the operators themselves.
During the colonial rule the British divided Nigeria into regions, districts and divisions. The districts were then like what we call today local government areas. While the central government controls the entire country, it gave the subordinate units some degree of independence in the control of its affairs and provision of certain amenities in the local areas.
Prior to the lunching of the 1976 local government reforms, all the regional (states) governments without excerptors created, modified and manipulated local government system and institutions as the considered expenditure. The practice was not suitable and this brought about for a uniform local government system. It is on this ground that a new local government system popularly called “1976 local government reforms” metamorphosed.
Ugwu, (1991:11) states that it is therefore the guest for effectiveness, good functioning and liability of our local government system that brought about this decentralization of the power of our federal government – by creation of a new uniform local government system with the 1976 local government reforms.
According to paragraph seven of the 1976 local government reforms, the term tier is designed as a set of local government with their own identity, powers and sources of revenue established under state legislation and with functions for which they have been responsible to the state. The guide line equal articulated the following objectives of the new local government reforms:
To enable the people to respond to service and development activities in their communities through their representative bodies.
To mobilize human and material resources through the involvement and participation of the people in the programme for the development of their communities.
To create favourable condition for democratic development initiative and qualities of among the people.
To enhance the sense of belonging and security through the effective communication between the local government communities and the three levels of government in Nigeria.
To provide a two way channel of communication between local communities and government (both state and federal).
To bring government nearer to the people and guarantee reasonably, adequate functions, financed resources and staff for local government.
It is important to state that despite the various reforms that were equally other structural led to the creation of local government in Nigeria from 229 in 1977 to 301 in 1987. In 1989 we had 589 and presently we have 774 local government areas in Nigeria. Enugu south local government areas which we used as a case study was created in 1991 by the General Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida led administration.
It is therefore, necessary to state that despite all the guidelines structural and managerial reforms, all the financial control approaches in the local government system have not achieved maximum result and it is in this basic that there is the need for the study.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
According to Odenigwe (1977:19) local government is defined as a system of local administration under which local communities and towns are organized to maintain law and order, provide limited range of social services, public amenities and encouragement co-operation and participation of the inhabitants in joint and endavours towards the improvement of their condition of living. Form the above definition which is widely accepted, one would at a glance observe that the Nigeria local government system are based with varieties of problem.
The provision of social services, public amenities could only be achieved when there is availability of funds and good management of fund.
It is therefore, not of place to state that the problems of financial control in the local government system in Nigeria is attributed to poor planning, insufficient funding, structural design, mismanagement, misappropriation of funds, corruption and lack of qualified personnel on the local government operators.
The researcher therefore identified the expediently necessary to appraise the financial control approaches in Nigeria local government system with a case study of Enugu South Local Government area of Enugu State.
1.3 PURPOSE OF THE STUDY
The purpose of this study is to highlight some of the problems that inhibit the viability of local government financial control approaches and to look for the solutions.
1.4 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
The researchers work is to appraise the financial control approaches in Nigeria local government system (a case study of Enugu South Local Government Area).
This work investigates the control mechanism in the public service with particular emphasis on Enugu south local government in distribution of dividend of the government.
1.5 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
To help in the analysis, the following research question were put forward?
What are the problems of financial control in Enugu south local government area?
What is the impact of local government administration in economic development of Enugu south local government area?
Does the source of fund available to local government responsible for poor financial control of local government finance?
What are the causes of low performance of the local government?
What are the areas of direction of economic development of Enugu south local government?
1.6 RESEARCH HYPOTHESIS
Ho: The financial control approaches in Nigeria local government system does not contribute to a greater revenue income.
Hi: The financial control approaches in Nigeria local government system contributes to a greater revenue income
Ho: Financial control approaches in Nigeria local government system does not improve the management of finance and as well does not maintain meaningful development.
Hi: Financial control approaches in Nigeria local government system improve the management of finance and as well maintain meaningful development.
1.7 SIGNIFICANT OF THE STUDY
Finance is not a rite peculiar to the finance department, nor is financial administration. Financial factors have to be considered along with others not independently of them, the financial work will be dispersed throughout the whole organisation, and neither the most efficient finance department of which will avail unless those responsible for directing the operations of the authority interest themselves in finance control and management.
It is also important to note that unless problem associated with financial control in the local government are identified, useful suggestions cannot be made on how to improve the management of finances and as well maintain meaningful development, such words as over-invoicing, inflation of contracts, gifts, embezzlement have entered the vocabulary of governance.
According to Olewe B. N. (1996:337) the need for using a centralized financial administration to strength rather than weaken the sense of financial responsibility of the departments, the desirability of a proper distinction between the “control” and service aspect of the work of the accountant, financial officer and the need of inter departmental co-operation will be created.
From the above analysis the researcher will attempt to highlight the impact of financial control in local government administration.
1.8 LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
There are a number of constraints that the researcher encountered in carrying out this research work. Some of these obstacles are highlighted below.
Owing to lack of forcible logistics to carryout compressive study of the operations of the whole local government under study a number of communities were selected.
Another important problem is the uncooperative attitude of the local government official, others are the perennial attitude to work in the public service. Sometimes when one called to get vital information on facts, the key officers may not be met to supply information needed.
Another important factor is the time constraint within which to complete the project work and bureaucratic procedure in public services to grant interview.
Also one of the constraint the researcher encountered is the limited literature of this particular logic.
1.9 DEFINITION OF THE TERMS
It is imperative at this juncture to defined some key words that form the concept to enable the reader appreciate the meaning and usage.
Local Government: According to Umebali, E. E. (2000:4) Quoting Odenigwe define local government as the system of local administration under which local communities and towns are organized to maintain law and order, provide limited range of social services, public amenities and encourage cooperation and participation of inhabitants in joint endeavours towards the improvement of their condition of living.
Appraise: According to the Standard Collins English Dictionary, appraise means to evaluate or estimate value.
Finance: This simply means the money available for the organisation to perform its function.
Control: Collins English Dictionary defined control as giving of command, dominate, regulate or direct.
Handbook on Local Government administration (1992) section 4.7.1
Local Government Reforms 1976.
Obeagu, Nze, G. C. et al (1991); Current Issues in Public and Local Government Administration. 4th dimension co. ltd Enugu.
Odenigwe, G. A. (1977); A system of local government; Nnabuife Publishers, Enugu.
Olatunbosun, K. (1995); Nigeria Neglected Rural Majority, Miser. Oxford University press, Ibadan.
Orewa, G. O. and Adewumi, J. B. (1983); local government in Nigeria. The Challenging scene. Ethiope publishing corporation, Benin City.
Uba, U. (1984); Local government in Developing Countries: A critical assessment in Nigeria journal of public administration and local government University of Nigeria Nsukka.
Ugwu, I. (1993); Contemporary issues in local government and democracy in Nigeria. Acena Publishers Enugu..