Research Article: 2021 Vol: 20 Issue: 3
Isaac Babatope Taiwo, Universiti Sains Malaysia
Jalaludin Dayana, Universiti Sains Malaysia
Azhar Zubir, Universiti Sains Malaysia
This study is purposely to sightsee some of the contests compelling public sector financial management bringing an improvement to financial operation of government and act as accountability and transparency tool demands from policy implementation in Nigeria and to submit efficient financial performance. This paper is conceptual and depends on extensive literature review. We find, among others, that inadequate financial policy implementation, political influence, poor accounting system, lack of financial performance measurement cause serious challenges that the public sector are facing which needs New Public Management reform to bring transparency tool and accountability in the public sector of Nigeria government. Some of our recommendations comprise the strengthening of the financial policy in line with standard practice of NPM reform, charging the public servant to be alive to their responsibilities and improving the accounting system.
Public sector, New Public Management, Financial Performance, Accountability, Treasury Single Account, and Transparency.
The Nigerian public sector reformation has numerous names attached to it, one of which is New Public Management (NPM) (Nchimbi, 2019). The NPM reforms came to existence during the 1980s in Europe (Hammerschmid et al., 2019). According to Christopher & Bouckaert (2011), NPM reform has dominated the public sector as a generalized reform program implemented for economic cooperation and development in Europe, USA, New Zealand, Australia and many countries today (Klenk & Reiter, 2019).
The NPM reform in these countries was toward increasing accountability, transparency, and good governance in the public sector (Klenk & Reiter, 2019; Ongaro & Ferlie, 2019). Nigeria has undertaken considerable reforms in managing the public sector in the form of NPM to ensure the effectiveness of government service delivery and to ensure that there are accountability and transparency in the public sector (Bana, 2009; Rugumyamheto, 2005; Sulle, 2014; Yakubu, 2019). The government of Nigeria initiated a reform agenda in the public sector to spearhead development in the economic and social spheres to respond to the expectations of the people. The public sector is to be seen as an engine for growth and development and to ensure that there is success in the financial activities of the government (Bana, 2009).
Government plays a vital role in improving government institutions in the delivery of services to the people. The services has called for a deep apprehension especially from the displeasures raised by various concerned citizen that the government should brazen up in improving and curbing the issue of financial malpractices in the public sector as issued by the Corruption Perception Index (CPI) (Rahman et al., 2015). Corruption is a worldwide phenomenon affecting the general societies which Nigeria has become endemic (Sadiq & Abdullahi, 2013). It is upon this that the government of Nigeria introduced the Treasury Single Account (TSA) to consolidate accounts of all the Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs) to enable proper accountability and transparency.
Accountability and transparency are some of the key concepts of NPM to achieve the TSA objectives, as suggested by Marilyn (2012). TSA was introduced in Nigeria by the previous government of President Goodluck Jonathan in the year 2012, and the policy was implemented by the present government of President Buhari in the year 2015 as part of the NPM reform to centralized all government fund, bring about accountability and transparency in the administration of the public fund and to reduce corrupt practices in the public sector (Ferry et al., 2015).
NPM reforms is aimed at providing better effectiveness in terms of public services and make the government transparent and accountable to the public (Makana, 2013). It also helps the government to determine and implement the best financial policy that will improve the sustainable economy (Matei & Antonie, 2014). It could be seen in developed and developing countries like the UK, USA, Canada, Malaysia. NPM has brought about more accountability and transparency in their respective governments (Siddiquee, 2006).
Every country governed in a democratic system must be prudent and accountable and be able to provide efficient, effective, and economical service delivery to the people (Shewamene, 2014). Public sectors are to maintain this effectiveness and efficiency in the spending of the public money so that there will be accountability and transparency (Mboto et l., 2017). Year in year out, the governments' involvement in the collection and disbursement of public funds through the various MDAs of government in order to execute programs and activities that has not shown accountability and transparency (Zulkifli et al., 2014).
Public institutions need to show accountability and transparency in the public funds’ management for government to be able to reduce the tendency of financial resources mismanagement. Therefore, the government spending causing crisis and mismanagement of funds is calling for integrity couple with accountability and transparency at the centre of the good governance in the world (World Bank, 2000).
Nigeria gained her independence in October 1, 1960 from the British government three years after the country has been agitating for the freedom (Oladapo, 2014). Nigeria in the world map belongs to Africa continent and Nigeria is one of the West Africa countries, blessed by God with lots of natural resources. Nigeria comprises the amalgamation of Southern protectorates and Northern protectorates that have six regions from an ancient kingdom organized people (Alada, 2016; Oladapo, 2014). The country was named Nigeria in the year 1898 indicating the British territory on the River Niger. Due to the large population in Nigeria, which in the year 2010, the Nigeria population stood at 158,503,197 (Ufot-Akpabio & Ofem, 2019), these number in size caused the Nigeria government to have reformation in the country.
In the recent time, it was discovered that a lot of challenges such as poverty level, unemployment, increase in inflation rate, corruption in both the public and private sector of the economy are affecting the Nigerian (Edogbanya & Ja’afaru, 2013; Oladapo, 2014). The major problem is the issue of corruption which has continue eaten deep to the fibric of the Nigeria economy. It is assumed to have worsened in this political era, and the government poverty alleviation program is not tackling these corrupt practices appropriately. All the Nigerian public sector financial activities are affected by the financial irregularities. These have resulted in a lack of effective accountability and transparency in managing the financial resources of the government (Fatile & Adejuwon, 2017).
To address the quality of service delivery to the citizen by the government in accordance with the NPM reform, the introduction of TSA in Nigeria was to block the financial leakages and for the government's financial accountability and transparency (Ajibade et al., 2018). TSA as a concept, it is not new to many of the developed and developing countries such as USA, and UK, Indonesia and India (Igbokwe-Ibeto et al., 2016). TSA concept has been implemented in Argentina, Colombia, Bolivia, Costa Rica, Chile, Mexico Ecuador and other countries as described by Pimenta & Pessoa (2016), and in Brazil and France it was called Centralized Treasury (Fainboim & Pattanayak, 2011).
It is upon the positive impacts on these countries that Nigeria gave a considerable move for the TSA. In Nigeria, TSA policy was first introduced through the reform by the federal government conducted in 2004 (Odia & Odia, 2016; Oloba, Orenuga, & Nkuma, 2017), it was discarded in 2005 due to the agitation from the financial institutions in the country (Oloba et al., 2017). They see the policy as affecting their operations when government closes numerous accounts with them. In year 2015, Nigeria government implemented TSA policy as part of the public financial management reforms and strategies to control public sector financial activities towards Vision 2020 for good governance, economy, and financial stability (Otemu, Rita, & Otemu, 2018). The vision 2020 designed to address the problems of ineffective and inefficient financial management for better accountability and transparency in the financial performance of the government.
Nature of public sector
The public sector is a phenomenon described as part of a country's economy, controlled and maintained financially by the government including nationalized industries or the economy of a state and local authorities owned institutions (Ahmad, Ahmad, & Salahuddin, 2020). Public sector includes public enterprises that provide public services of government, e.g. education, infrastructure, military, the police, health etc. that are benefiting to humanity (Creighton et al., 2020; Ogbeidi, 2012; Sowunmi, Adesola, & Salako, 2010; Wynne, Hadden, & Ebbitt, 2009). Ahmad et al. (2020) viewed the enigma of the public sector as an area that can easily be termed as the economic system of any country regulated by the local, state, the federal government.
The public sector is used to identify the part of a nation's economy that is motivated by providing basic services to citizens through the framework of a government (Marilyn, 2012). The public sector includes all government-owned institutions, e.g., Ministries, Departments, Agencies, Universities, Commission, Parastatals, etc. There are to render services on behalf of the government to the society, and they are not for profit-making except on a specific function with clear terms and reference. The public sector concept is wide, and there is a need to understand the established rules and regulations guiding the government operation (Sikhungo & Daniela, 2011). Most of the public sector institutions are formed by the Decree during Military ruled, and during Civilian rule, there is form by Act of Parliament
Types of Public Sector
These can be group as internationally recognized, which may include many state entities or partnerships; national which can be separated to state, Regional, i.e., states or states in a region and local that include local government within the state or a city.
The types of the public sector are as follow
i. Core government office. This comprises all ministries and departments of governing that have direct responsibilities to report to central government authorities such as Executive heads, Legislatures, Council members, e.g., Ministers and Commissioners.
ii. Agencies of Government, these are the public institutions that are clearly defined as legal entities, they have limited operational independent, and they formed part of the government, they carried out programs of the government, deliver their function to the public, and they are headed by Board of Directors or any appointed persons
iii. Public enterprises, these are other offices of government that carry programs of the government, but they are independent of government, they generate their revenue separately and, they operate like private establishment. They follow the regulations that control private businesses because they can have shareholders, but, in most cases, the government is the major shareholder.
iv. Government contractors are independent bodies outside the government, but they are contractually binding to performed programs of government by collecting government money under their contract of rendering services to the government. It includes privates or non-profit making organizations
v. State-owned businesses, these are business owned and governed by the state government in providing goods and services through private sole or partnership arrangement for the purpose of making a profit in private markets all the resources under this are controlled by the state government which may be under the government initiative programs.
The Nigerian public sector reform is within the NPM reform framework to management the good, bad and ugly economy situation in fulfilling the social contract of government with Nigerian in safe guarding the public fund and provides good service delivery to the people (Igbokwe-Ibeto et al., 2016).
Initiatives about the NPM in government is to encourage financial management techniques in private sector to be implemented in the public sector financial operations so as to monitor the degree of efficiency in the financial operations of public sector and to emphasize the financial significance of management decisions (Christopher & Bouckaert, 2011). NPM had a considerable effect on the public sector accounting in playing a vital role in any reform process of government starting from the procedural for the reform and the level of compliance to make the government accountable in terms of cost-effectiveness and efficient public sector performance.
The public management reforms from the late 1970s have led to a revolutionary change not only in the accounting for government expenditures and manner of social services delivery but also in the structures of governance (Akhtar, 2003; Tolofari, 2005). The reform towards the application of government businesses and practices in public sector management is the NPM. It is the operational aspect of the new type of public administration which is often mentioned together with governance (Tolofari, 2005).
The introduction of NPM brought about a new set of managerial principles into the public sector organizations (Barberis, 1998; Tillema, 2007), causing better decision making that makes public organizations more accountable to the people generally in service delivery (Liguori & Steccolini, 2014). NPM reform aims to promote the effectiveness and efficient financial performance in the public sector (Kuna, 2017; Polidano, 1999). It also influenced government accounting in several western countries, e.g. the UK and Australia. It brought tools and ideas that make importance on public sector accountability of their financial operations, on the accrual accounting usefulness, and on the individual directors’ autonomy (Jovanovi? & Vaši?ek, 2020).
Based on literature highlighted by Siddiquee (2006), some essential elements of the NPM identified as creating a generally acceptable regulation for government to have a good system for service delivery. These include monitoring and regulating the government capital expenditure, reduction in the budget and staff wages and salaries of public servants, and also monitoring the employee to have job satisfaction which will enables them to contribute their best possible for better performance in the public sector. Also, the job satisfaction will help in the recovery of cost and enforcing adherent to the policy and regulation of government regarding the policy implementation in order to provide accountability, transparency and economic expansion.
The NPM reform signifies a significant change in the management of public sector, it integrates changes in structure, value and process of operation (Liguori & Steccolini, 2014). The structural modifications entail decentralization of the organization, decrease in pecking order, restructuring arrangements made by an organizational to remove unproductive departments, and sections (Lapsley & Miller, 2019). The process of the changes includes the injection of positive values in the public sector and improved management techniques. NPM advocates amendments in the budget processes, quality initiatives and management of man power in enhancing effectiveness and efficient administration public sector to be more proactive to the general desires of the society (Hammerschmid et al., 2019).
NPM can be said to have become a trend, and it has come to be regarded as universal management reforms being applicable everywhere, irrespective of the special conditions of different countries of the world (Linse, 1991). Researchers have advanced this notion that NPM is a point of view about management reform in the government public institution. In Canada, as stated by Aucoin (1995), the study described the idea that NPM is a reform process on the organization to redesign and codify views about how to achieve well-performance and conceptions of a responsible and good government. Barzelay (1992), a post-bureaucratic paradigm in the USA, applied NPM on the rules and routines for the central administrative operation of government agencies. Schick (1996), the study applauded NPM in public institutions as a routine for steering government-wide rules controlling and motivating the public organizations in New Zealand (McLaughlin et al., 2005).
NPM is initiated as a reform conceptualized and developed mainly for organizing scholarly debate for present day management of government institution (McLaughlin et al., 2005). The scholars regarded NPM as a point of view about administrative design in the public sector. It acquired a wider range of meanings like the inculcating the New Institutional Sociology (NIS) to the administration of public institution as a policy to control their activities. The components of NPM comprising the application of proactive professionals in public sector management and introduction of performance measurements to control public sector performance, budget implementation and bring prudency in the government expenditures (Hodgkinson et al., 2017).
Parker et al. (2019), claimed that the concept of NPM is broad and complex as the term represent the new movement in reforming the public sector everywhere in many countries right from the 1980s. Financial measurement is a part of NPM activities within the public sector with the aim to create cost control and producing a performance report on a yearly basis for fiscal evaluation of the financial performance of government (McLaughlin et al., 2005; Parker et al., 2019). The World Bank Group, on the other hand, identifies important features of NPM which serve as a management culture that emphasizes the responsibility, identifies strength and weakness of public officers in the service delivery and brings transparency and accountability to the financial performance of public institution (Akhtar, 2003).
NPM for the past 15 years has been characterized by performance management context in the public sector for efficient financial performance, accountability and has adopted in many developed, developing and African countries (Noblet et al., 2006). These countries have achieved a significant improvement in the level of financial performance by adopting various NPM reforms (Fakhrul, 2015). A country like the UK, USA, New Zealand, see NPM as a reform for organizational design in government (Hodgkinson et al., 2017). They introduced NPM to save money, sometimes to curb the loss of legitimacy in the administration of public sector as well as to deal with the problem of the bureaucracy and gain efficiency in the public expenditures (McLaughlin et al., 2005).
The Financial Management under NPM
NPM is a reform dedicated to improving public sector financial management globally, so that the government financial operations may better serve the public interests. Five different categories on how the NPM has brought significant improvement to the financial management in government are described by Guthrie et al. (1999). Firstly, NPM brought tremendous improvement to the reporting systems of public sector, and this is done by promoting the use of accrual basis in preparation of government financial statements across the MDAs in accordance with the relevant professional standards in accounting. The second area of NPM on financial management is the development of commercial and marketing structures in addressing the relative cost of public services and management of procurements in public sector. It is done by making arrangements on external or internal price mechanisms.
Thirdly, NPM is a reform that has affected development in performance measurement approach in government using techniques, financial performance indicator or non-financial performance indicator, benchmarking, and operational performance measures. The fourth area of NPM in financial management is the delegation or decentralization of budgets, integration of management accounting and financial accounting systems in government, management of economic information which is done by linking budgets and financial or non-financial reports for performance evaluation. The last but not the least is the involvement of changes made to auditing system both external and internal audits for the purpose of monitoring financial service delivery functions of the public sector in order to reviews efficiency and effectiveness for government to have value for money expended in a transparent way for better accountability.
NPM also promotes best practices in governmental financial management in line with the professional guideline and in the mission statement of the public sector, which indicates the government promise in provision of infrastructural facilities to meet peoples’ demands. This is by providing good operations according to the financial management principles and standards of governmental operation worldwide (Wynne et al., 2009). NPM help the government to have a control over the public sector on all policies and procedures to be put in place and to promote accountability of financial resources. It has also helped the public sector to identify weaknesses and problems through the assessment of current general public sector financial performance for the MDAs to identifying solutions to their financial challenges (Wynne et al., 2009).
The empirical study of Bergmann et al. (2016), indicated that it had become largely accepted by those financial analyst and researcher investigating the requirements for the public sector financial reporting. It described that NPM aggregate government financial statements to be a valuable instrument for government control over the public institution financial activities and presents a clear representation of the current economic situation and functioning of the whole public sector financial operation for a given period.
Many empirical studies have discussed the NPM with the implementation of financial management control in public institution and indicate financial resources of government as to control misuse of government resources. However, there is inadequacy in the empirical studies that explore the efficiency of financial management to show how accountability and transparency are essential. Therefore, a study that specifically discusses the efficiency of financial management in the NPM needs to be explored.
Treasury Single Account (TSA)
TSA is described as one of NPM reforms element that meant for cash management. It is the amalgamated of governments accounts in financial institutions which allow putting together of financial resources, control of financial transactions, and contributes to debt management (Amobi & Ejeteh, 2016; Pattanayak & Fainboim, 2011). The TSA design should include the structure of government bank accounts, scope of its coverage, role of the central bank, a system to process transactions and equivalent cash flows accounts and commercial banks in terms of TSA management (Pimenta & Pessoa, 2016).
According to Abdullahi et al. (2019), TSA is defined as a bank account linked which enable the government to carry out collection of funds, disbursements, and to gives centralized control of government financial resources. Centralized government financial resources regardless of the sources is necessary, however, it important for government to separate cash realised from individual MDAs transactions for accountability, reporting purposes and to eliminate conflict in reconciliation of government account with the financial institutions (Olorunnishola & Fasina, 2018).
Stephenie (2017), describes TSA as an integrated account of government to show total funds of government received based on treasury consolidation upon which government performs all its receipts and payments for control and reporting purposes. The operations of TSA ensure proper fund management, eliminating system of keeping idle funds with the commercial banks and enhanced real-time balance account of government (Mbotor & Bassey, 2018). The major reasons for implementation of TSA are maximization of public sector financial resources and reduction in public sector float costs (Olorunnishola & Fasina, 2018). TSA is design to assist government to have detailed information about money realised and her expenditures. It will enable the government capturing available balance made to the treasury from various sources of government revenue where payment can be disbursed whenever surplus is declared. Surplus in government account will indicate inflow of cash which TSA policy is to address in order to improve cash management in public institution (Olorunnishola & Fasina, 2018). TSA policy is designed to provide reliable financial information through the use of interface called Financial Management Information System (FMIS) as a platform to get real-time financial information of government at glances (Olorunnishola & Fasina, 2018).
In each country, specific regulation, electronic payment system (EPS), banking system arrangements are condition for TSA Implementation to be effective. TSA has helped many countries to centralize their financial operation and it has been useful to monitor government collection of revenue and adequate control of spending for efficient and cost-effectiveness (Hashim & Moon, 2004). Achieving this manually, TSA has to operate and control in between a protocol that runs through the central bank and central treasury structure to make the FMIS functioning with the implementation of TSA to be a reliable policy for efficient financial performance (Olorunnishola & Fasina, 2018). The central treasury is in charge of implementing the TSA policy to control expenditure of government and to be the representative of government as a client in the central bank to execute and making all payment of government upon directive from the central treasury.
Public sector reforms were expected to improve performance at all levels of government by ensuring appropriate allocation of scares resources, allows proper accountability (Peter, 2018). It is also necessary to address the issues of communication using modern information technology that will make government to be efficient and effective in service delivery to the people and raise the expectation of the public in government for accountability and transparency in this present-day time, most especially, public organization and other agencies of government are to allow the NPM reform which TSA policy is one of the reform policies to bring better financial performance of the public sector (Amobi & Ejeteh, 2016).
Fainboim & Pattanayak (2011), stated that TSA is very important in the public sector for financial operation and management decision making. Any nation that have their revenue generation fragmented and disbursement of their fund does not handle appropriately with the financial institution will have financial crisis and such country need to address such public financial management weaknesses critically. A country with fragmented government banking activities pays any shortage(s) in their disbursements. Firstly, the balances in bank accounts which are idle balances often fail to earn any market value to the government because there is no compensation for idle funds. Secondly, government, despite having these surplus balances in the bank account, they still borrowed funds to finance capital projects and balance cash deficiency since the idle fund in the bank account is unaware to them. Thirdly, the government fund with the bank are revenue to the banks and the fund are not idle but are used to spread facilities to their customers. The cash resources are drained through the open market operation of central bank which will attract extra charges upon release of the funds to the government.
TSA policy according to Fainboim & Pattanayak (2011), and Olanipekun, Brimah, Usman & Giwa (2016), helps consolidate government financial resources balances and makes the finance ministry to have control as oversight function over government cash flows and developments in budget implementation. Government financial resources are control by TSA policy so that there will be regular, effective and efficient monitoring of the broad financial resources of government (Abiola, 2018). Debt management and banking policy are facilitated by TSA to have reliable financial information for reconciliation of government account with the banking sector (Olanipekun et al., 2016). Finally, Mboto et al. (2017), said that implementation of TSA will cuts down cost of servicing government debt, maximizing return on investments in government and reducing liquidity reserve problems as described by the Working Paper WP/10/143 of IMF which explained the TSA benefits to the government financial operation.
TSA in many countries gives broad and accurate financial resources information using IFMIS for banking clearing systems and methods of advanced payment in government. The real-time balance information is generated through the IFMIS which will show daily balances at every day financial operation (Pimenta & Pessoa, 2016).
TSA improves financial control of government financial operation which the finance ministry ensures that the implementation is effective more importantly to control budget allocations as well as supporting appropriation of budget at all level of government. Keeping many bank accounts by government often result to fragmented in the financial operations of government and this will affect provision of financial resources for budget implementation and will also cost government additional cash resources to augment for short fail in the appropriation which will resulted to extra-budgetary measures in government spending (Amobi & Ejeteh, 2016; Oru & Odumusor, 2018).
TSA improve control of operational budget during treasury execution of budget with abundant evidence of available cash resources in the implementation of government budget so as to give transparency, accountability and efficient in the execution of government budget (George & Ihuoma, 2019). Public sector should have enough fund in order to finance government expenditures, the absent of available fund will caused government budget unit sub-optimal behaviour in the budget execution by exaggerating financial resources estimates or making budget provision through off-budget in channelling the expenditures (Amobi & Ejeteh, 2016; Salman & Adeseye, 2017).
TSA allows efficient management of the fund in all the MDAs and controlling financial resources of government to undertaken outturn scrutiny of high quality of cash resources which will help the government to reduce cost of transaction and bank (Ajibade et al., 2018). Also, it is a policy that control number of government account thereby reducing the administrative charges, other charges for maintenance of government accounts and charges on collection of government bank statements for bank reconciliation purposes since the government accounts had been consolidated in single account (Amadi & Obutte, 2018).
It facilitates payment machinery from the centralized large volume of government financial resources which is going to different accounts before the implementation TSA, the policy will ensure monitoring and helped the government to control likely problem concerning payment system since the funds are now in TSA accounts maintained by central bank (George & Ihuoma, 2019). There is a considerable economy of scale and transaction cost effectiveness in government payments with consolidation of government financial resources (Pimenta & Pessoa, 2016). Implementation of TSA policy brings transparency in disbursement of government funds and removes multiple charges on government bank accounts which include floating charge and other banking charges on payment authorized by the government on service delivery to the people (Fainboim & Pattanayak, 2011; Ogbonna & Amuji, 2018). Many public sectors have benefited tremendously, and this has reduced their cost of governance and system of banking by introducing a TSA. Furthermore, TSA will improves reconciliation of accounts and financial information quality by allows effective reconciliation between the statement of cash flow collected from the bank and government books of account and preserve cash reserve to meet government unexpected fiscal instability (Igbekoyi & Agbaje, 2017; Mboto et al., 2017).
In summary, the TSA policy of the government has helped public institution in the world for effective public management process to have accountability and transparency in financial operations of government. This is done by making sure that all the governments' accounts are streamlined to TSA in line with the public sector financial management using Integrated Financial Management Information System (IFMIS) that will show a real-time account balance of government readily available, and with this, at a glance, the government can know the exert amount coming from the different agencies of government. TSA provide adequate monitoring for regular reconciliation to determine variation in the accounts of the government and also to guide against mistakes, errors, other bank charges on multiple accounts of the government ministries. Therefore, TSA is a policy for effectiveness in payments and monitoring the financial operation of the public sector which has brought accountability and transparency in both the government revenues and government expenditures (Uzochukwu & Olohi, 2017).
TSA is expected to contribute to the enhancement of accountability, transparency, efficiency and curb or reduce financial malpractices. TSA has not successful particularly in the area of accountability, transparency, financial malpractice and efficiency. Several questions have to be raised to explore these issues for the government to achieve the desired function of TSA policy on public sector financial management (Hendriks, 2012). This research will consider these issues and discuss it in public sector context in order for public institution to actualize the important of TSA in the management of the public fund and accounting control in government.
The concept of accountability is a universal one that influences all parts of government activities. The philosophies underlying it are those of justifying activities accounting for reporting on explaining and accepting responsibility for the outcomes. It comprises an obligation to answer for one's action and decisions when there is the power to act on behalf of another party. According to the Management Advisory Board of the Commonwealth Government (Management Advisory Board, 1993), the duty of accountability in the public sector occurs whenever people accounts for the performance of activities that he/she has agreed to perform. Accountability entails transparency, the provision of information, openness, and the acceptance of responsibility for one's activities as the concept causes the operations and all accounting of a democratic government (Barton, 2006). Accountability is always a challenge in the public sector administration, and it is even more so in a time of reform when it is likely to send employees mixed indicators about expectations, the expectation of the reform is usually posing questions of accountability in terms of government employees whether they are more accountable after the reform than they were earlier (Romzek, 2000).
Conventionally, accountability is a word that has been used in calling on people to account for activities they have performed which is importance to the analysis of actual achievement and the threat of probable authorizations (Ferry et al., 2015). Even though it is significantly expressed in many ways as defined by Ryan & Walsh (2004), it is the ability of good performance. Many scholars have agreed on standing of two-way connectivity between the principal and agent. Agents are held responsible for the principal of their activities (Ferry et al., 2015). Principal character directed the path to exercised accountability which may be upwards to the authority or downwards to the public, and sideways as a contract that will mutually benefit both the principal and the agent base on their agreement. Ryan & Walsh (2004) describe public accountability to be the direct responsibility of government to the people and recommends the people who are the general public to be the principal and agent is the government.
Ferry et al. (2015), discussed that accountability could be counterproductive if the effect is not considered on organizational performance, this could be found in the ancient hierarchical structures that tend to confirm financial activities of English local government in the United Kingdom. It shows a bottom-up system of government substituted the previously top-down system of government for accountability performance in the English local area and for greater transparency in government operation thereby brought about better open market services for a public organization.
Gregory (1995), discussed accountability in the state government reforms. A lot of enormous distinction between the excessive attention paid to accountability and the very scant attention of responsibility has developed. These two words can mean the same meaning, but they are not, as they represent two perceptions that signify different ideas about the behaviour of public workers. Accountability is about a given stewardship account of one's activities. In the organizational framework, the primary duty of junior staff is to perform functions by rendering an account to his/her superiors in the hierarchical order. Accountability serves as a managerial control to render all work visible, through reporting structures and procedures which the top officers must know and maintain on what their subordinates do and reported. Any work concealed is potentially threatening to the organization and the system of control. Information about the work carried out is essential for effective management performance, and if outputs cannot be seen, it means there is no proper supervision and control.
Accountability is viewed and considered by many stakeholders as a key issue in building public institutions, and the absence of good-quality public mechanisms of accountability will affect the impact of the potential policy implementation in the public sector (Hyndman & McConville, 2018). The recent study conducted by Mabillard & Zumofen (2020), on accountability and transparency, described that accountability and transparency could be simply applied together for better dissemination of information on the financial performance of the public organization. The study further described that accountability and transparency are co-dependent concepts; accountability depends on transparency to have the necessary information while transparency without accountability becomes pointless and makes the public organization financial performance not recognized by the stakeholders.
Transparency said to by the manner in which an organization transmits information about the organization rules, regulations and operational result to the stakeholders as evidence observable on their performance (Lapsley & Segato, 2019). Historically, this study of Lapsley & Segat,( 2019), outlined the development of transparency as a prevalent concept in an organization for deliberations to increase performance. Recently, according to (Ferry et al., 2015), transparency has increase credibility in the financial performance in Western counties democracies through the announcement of freedom of information by the legislative arms of government in order to strengthening parliamentary buildings in democratic system of government. Government in these developed countries have incorporated transparency into the various government strategies to demonstrating the proper way of carrying out government activities by the government officials which will make them transparent to the public. The perception about the transparency described the human right to assist in guarding government inefficient activities (Scott, 2000).
As Ferry et al. (2015), have recognized, transparency can expand accountability in an area of government functions. However, David & George (2011), maintains that transparency in government must appreciated as an instrument because, in actual situations, it is a blocking structure for other features of public policy that may be backing accountability. However, as Hodge & Coghill (2007), argued, transparency does not automatically expand accountability in as much it can affect in organizations taking a box-ticking method for dissemination of a considerable size of data that is relatively meaningful. But If the data are not suitably framed and understood by the general public as significant, the representative maybe less accountable as required by the guidelines.
The study of Prat (2005), mentioned that, transparency is not appropriate wherever the purpose is to concerns about the activities that is not significance but rather generate problems as a result of public workers to have deny valuable information. Transparency concept will assist workers to transform and improve their behaviour to do what is right at all time. We can describe that the type of data and quality of information rendered will determines whether there is accountability which will show efficient and effective financial performance in an organization. Many scholars have argued that transparency is an instrument structured in organization to show accountability and efficiency in the public sector financial operations.
Ferry et al. (2015) further suggested that transparency is about releasing accurate and actual information about the public expenditure to make a fundamental certainty which will be understandable and recognized by stakeholders in the societies. Allocation of data is not enough to produce transparency on information needed by the people to understand and justify the information as timely and appropriately. There is need for public sector to be transparent in their expenditure which must be clearly communicated to various stakeholders in the organization. Heald & Steel (2018) now suggests transparency in the public expenditure to have five qualities. Firstly, there should be disciplined in how the information will be released in such that there will be no unscrupulous practices of plants, spin, and leaks that could undermine its acceptability. Secondly, the user can have access to the relevant organizational detail from a good perception (Ferry et al., 2015), state that the reporting documents need to be complete and originated upon a well-designed hierarchy. Thirdly, both the political structuring incentives and quantities need to be arranged together. Fourthly, the auditor's functions and responsibilities are necessary and important in validating financial reporting so that there will be transparency in private and public sector auditing to guard against fraud and irregularities, bring control, protect organization properties, and ensure value for money for better performance. Lastly, it is imperative to have an automatic examination measurement separate from the government to help in achieving a transparent public institution.
Mulgan (1997), states that the accountability concept demands an investigation. The accountability concept can be explained with reference to the responsibility which according to the Australian literature, the words accountability and responsibility is related and they can be interchangeable in meaning (Mulgan, 1997). They can occasionally use together correctly, and they are closely interrelated but with distinct meanings. Responsibility has several connotations, together with the choice of acting, charge in praise otherwise fault in performance of a persons’ attitude. This may also suggest connection among people that are assigned with the performance of specific responsibilities. The connectivity are found in all organizational hierarchies of government as well in private organizations as well as other establishments like hospitals, schools, and churches. The accountability can be traced to be relational responsibility (Mulgan, 1997).
According to Burritt & Welch (1997), workers within the organization are responsible to some authority or group of persons for discharging their responsibilities which they have been assigned by accounting for what they have not done subject to an institution's guidelines and directives which is justified before the review authority. It is important that ensuring transparency will plug apparent leakages which will complement the government introduced TSA policy as a tool for management control (Oru & Odumusor, 2018). Transparency in all the MDAs will help the Ministry of Finance view both the inflow and outflow of government funds at a glance and to make aggregate control over government cash management against borrowing (Mboto et al., 2017). Saleh (2015), maintained that the implementation of TSA in a country would enhance revenue collection and block leakages when the policy allows and promote transparency; it will quicken disbursement of money to beneficiaries. The consolidation of financial resources of government has to be comprehensively which will includes extra-budgetary and budgetary funds to ensure that there are fiscal discipline and transparency management in the finances of government (Oru & Odumusor, 2018).
Therefore, we have found that a determination to ensure greater transparency discipline in the management of the public sector has not been adequate and there is the need to explore further in the finances of government for openness and allow the TSA operation in the public sector achieve a reduction in the financial malpractices within the government circle (Igbokwe-Ibeto et al., 2016)
The extent of introduction and challenges that are involved in the implementation of TSA is increasingly being embraced by the developed and less developed countries of the world, including Nigeria. If the reward of successful NPM reform is great to provide an understanding of public sector accountability and transparency aimed at ensuring that the government MDAs supported it by centralizing all the financial resources that belongs to the government, the understanding of identification and the recognition of the problems and objectives of TSA could provide a developed framework that will make the implementation more successful in the Nigerian public sector in order to promote financial accountability and transparency. The research motivation has the rising concern of incessant fraud and financial irregularities in the country, and there is a need to determine how these affect the public institution's accountability and transparency. The research is significant in decision making by the management of MDAs to understudy and embrace importance of TSA policy helping in their responsibilities as required by the general public in order to improve government accountability and transparency. It is also, in addition contributing to the existing knowledge in the field of accounting and management as to the policy implementation function, government employee behaviour, and efficient financial performance of the public sector.
Recommendation for Research
This study has conceptualized the introduction and understanding of TSA in Nigerian public sector. Further study can work on this study area by designing, elaborating, and validating it in creating an in-dept study through qualitative or quantitative methodology to collaborate this study and suggest likely effect of the TSA policy on financial activities of government in Nigeria. This study suggest the use of qualitative methodology so that the study can systematically investigate the phenomena by collecting qualifiable data and performing statistical computation through the use of exploratory methods on the financial operations of Nigerian public sector.
The choice for the location was basically emanated from the fact that Nigeria is one of the developing countries that the issues of corruption and financial malpractices are common which the effect has harmper the financial resources of government thereby leading to financial reources leakages, misuse of public fund, and lack of accountability and transparency in the financial activities of government. Therefore, there is need for effective and efficient financial control policy which Nigeria government looked into and as such, government introduced and implement TSA policy. Further study will be ellaborated the findings to know how the TSA policy has address the issues affecting the financial operations of public sector holistically and deduce if it has positively or negatively effective.