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Local government programmes are not always accomplished as planned due to some problems of financial control and accountability inherent in the system if is this high concern that motivated the researcher to carryout a study in this area. The populations of the study include only the finance and supply department of the local government council. However, sample size accounting staffs were selected from the department. The major instruments used for data collection is questionnaires which were distributed individually to the respondents.




1.1       Background to the Study

Nigeria was colonised by Britain but had her independent in 1960. Nigeria is a federation of thirty-six States and seven hundred and seventy-four Local Government Areas, It has a population of over one hundred and forty million people and the dominant source of income is oil (Oyelakin, 2003). Nigeria is a country endowed with abundant natural economic resources. But despite the abundance of national wealth, Nigeria has remained underdeveloped and is ranked among the poorest nations of the world (King, 2003; Soludo, 2007). Since there is an abundance of resources, Nigeria’s poverty level and underdevelopment can only be attributed to mismanagement and corruption, facilitated by weak, inappropriate and malfunctioning public sector.

During the colonial era, the British installed a financial control measure that is still being practised today in the Nigerian public sector. The legal framework for the control of public finance is still based on the laws that were transferred to Nigeria by the British colonial administration at independence. Most of these laws have been scantily amended. The two most relevant legal frameworks that predate independence and which are still used today are the Finance (Control and Management) Act No. 33, 1958 and the Audit Act No. 38, 1956 (Anyafo, 2000). Other legal documents that influence financial control practice include the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria; the Appropriation Acts; Financial Regulations and Finance and Treasury Circulars (Daniel, 2002).

Ugwoke (2005) opines that the Nigerian public sector is made up of the governments of the Federal, States, Federal Capital Territory, Local Governments and all their Ministries, Ministerial Departments and Parastatals. The public sector plays an important role in economic development. It provides services which the private sector may not be willing or able to provide. Chan (1988) argues that the public sector provides many essential services to society. It plays an essentially compensatory function; that is, it performs those functions that the market economy does not do efficiently or lacks the incentive to do at all. Musgrave and Musgrave (1976), classify these functions as resource allocation, distribution of income and economic stabilisation.

In Nigeria, the various tiers of government perform these functions in varying degrees. Governments at all levels desire to deliver good governance to all their citizens. This is because good governance is an important factor in creating and sustaining an enabling environment for development (Asselin, 1995).

The importance of good financial management system in carrying out the functions of government has not lost its relevance. Based on this, the financial accountability of most countries is embedded in the Constitution to ensure the discharge of financial accountability. Oshisami and Dean (1984) remarks that in recognition of the importance of finance as a basis for political power, and the opportunities which absolute control offers for its abuse, control over public finance is divided. The division is formally recognised constitutionally. In view of the enormous responsibilities placed on government for the welfare of its citizens, the public sector needs a lot of resources.

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