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Effect of the Implementation of Financial Regulations on Accountability of National Identity Management Commission and National Space Research & Development Agencies in Nigeria

This article is published in the FUGUS Journal of Public Administration and Management, Volume 2, Number 1, October 2023. FUJPAM is a peer-reviewed journal of the Department of Public Administration, Federal University Gusau, Nigeria. You can check below to download a full PDF of the article or visit the journal website at https://www.fujpam.com.

EFFECT OF THE IMPLEMENTATION OF FINANCIAL REGULATIONS ON ACCOUNTABILITY OF NATIONAL IDENTITY MANAGEMENT COMMISSION AND NATIONAL SPACE RESEARCH & DEVELOPMENT AGENCIES IN NIGERIA

by

Buba, Adamu

E-Mail: aamrat24@yahoo.com
Department of Public Administration,
Faculty of Administration, Nasarawa State University, Keffi, Nasarawa State, Nigeria

&

Dr. Abdullahi Mohammed
Department of Public Administration,
Faculty of Administration, Nasarawa State University, Keffi, Nasarawa State, Nigeria
 

Abstract

The Federal Government Financial Regulations was introduced with a view to instilling accountability and transparency in the conduct of public service. This paper examines the effect of financial regulations on accountability in the public service. The study is focused on two specific objectives. It will assess the effect of compliance to internal audit reviews and secondly, to ascertain the extent to which sanctions are enforced on breaches resulting in loses to government. The study is premised on primary data through a structured interview to a purposeful sample of some staff of National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) and National Space Research & Development Agency (NASRDA) as well as secondary sources of data collection that were quantitatively analyzed. The study reveals among others that strict compliance to periodic internal audit reviews have great effect on accountability in the study area (NIMC & NASRDA) leading to public accountability in the conduct of financial transactions in the public service. Furthermore, the strict enforcement of sanctions on breaches directly resulting in loses to government has greater effect on accountability. The study recommends that detailed periodic internal audit reviews time table must be made available regularly to all staff of the organization and also the heads of units must be officially notified of these exercises and reviews for them to have ample time for preparations. There should also be strict and prompt reportage of all anomalies observed during the exercise. The top leadership of the organization must spell out the consequences for non-observance to these internal audit reviews time table by strengthening the internal controls that will guarantee checks and balance in the audit reviews. The theoretical framework for this study is the New Institutional Theory. This study covers 2008-2017. This research is different with the one that earlier published with same title, same authors with different method of data collection and analysis.

Keywords: Accountability, Internal Audit Reviews, Financial Regulations, Sanctions and Public Service 

Introduction

 The previous two decades have witnessed intensified debate on the performance and accountability of the institutions and organizations within the public sector (Hookana, 2011). As a result, there have been increasing calls for the public sectors in developing nations including Nigeria to provide quality public services that meet the needs of the citizens, be more accountable for its decisions and actions and to manage resources more prudently. Interest in public sector accountability is motivated by the need to curb waste occasioned by inefficient use of public resources and collusion between the top bureaucratic and political class in rent-seeking and sundry corrupt practices. The need for efficient management of the meager resources in the face of rising expectations from the populace for service delivery calls for proper accountability in the public sector. 

In the public sector, accountability means that all government officials must answer to the citizens and justify the source and utilization of public resources at their disposal. It is imperative that citizens have access to information that allow them to make decisions, thereby encouraging citizens participation in government. Democracy makes it permissible for citizens to hold government officials accountable and also to monitor and control government conduct which prevents the abuse of powers by public officials. This shows that public accountability is one of the fundamental prerequisites for preventing the abuse of power and for ensuring that power is directed towards the achievement of efficiency, effectiveness in the conduct of public organizations. Efficiency and effectiveness became the central terms used in assessing and measuring the performance of organizations (Mouzas, 2016). The federal Government of Nigeria been very much concerned with the issue of accountability and transparency in public service came up with a number of reforms such as professionalism of the public service, effective expenditure management, and due process mechanisms as well as the revision of the financial regulations policy document by the President Olusegun Obasanjo’s regime in 2009 owing to the complexities government financial transactions has witnessed in recent years. Of particular interest, financial regulation is one of the reforms introduced which is designed to promote honesty and transparency in the conduct of government financial transactions. The complexity which government business has assumed since the inception of democratic governance made it necessary to take a closer look, once again at the financial regulations by which government finances and accounting procedures are regulated

          

Financial Regulation as defined by Eatwell, (1998) is a complex concept that has no generally acknowledged set of hypothetical standards characterizing it. It could be said it is an arrangement of particular standards or concurred conduct enforced by government or its organizations to have the capacity to control and guide the exercises monetary framework for the accomplishment of target objectives (Chris, 2013).

            

Internal auditing is the periodic spot checks and annual audit of accounts of MDAs to ascertain the effectiveness of the internal control systems. It is conducted on MDAS by supervising departments in the MDAS. It is an overall monitoring activity with responsibility to management for assessing the effectiveness of control procedures which are the responsibility of other functional managers. The internal audit function is not limited to the operation of any particular function within an organization rather, it is all-embracing. It has been a recognized component of organizations in both the public and private sectors for years. 

 

Sanction refers to a disciplinary measure or reprimand, which causes panic, criticism when one is involved in an unlawful or illegal act.  It is also seen as a measure to instill orderliness and conformity to established rules and regulations. In order words, sanction is used as a form of discipline in this research, this discipline which is enforced on breaches not directly or immediately resulting in loses to government and breaches on poor management of accounts of Ministries Departments Agencies (MDAS). 

           

Enforcement could be generally regarded as any actions taken by regulators to guarantee compliance (Zubcic & Sims, 2011). There are diverse thoughts concerning the weight of enforcement of sanctions on compliance. A number of scholars such as Sparrow (1994), disbelief there is direct influence of enforcement on regulatory compliance. They maintain that enforcement may make violators of such laws more re2fined on how to preclude, and hide discovery by the establishments

             

The study focuses on two specific objectives of determining the effects of internal audit reviews, and enforcement of sanctions on accountability of some selected public organizations in Nigeria. The study period covers the years between 2008 and 2017. The two agencies, National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) and National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA) were selected for this research and the choice of the study period was due to the fact that a number of financial regulation breaches were recorded during the time and were made public by the Auditor General of the Federation. The anomalies and breaches for the two selected parastatals were on the high side (see pp 134-143 & 269-270 for NIMC and NASRDA respectively), hence the need explore further. These breaches were reported in the 2015 Audit Review by the Auditor General of the Federation as contained in Annual Audit Report, 2015. 

           

Why is it that despite successive efforts made by government to instill accountability in the public service, especially through the introduction of financial regulations, the rate of corruption in public service is still high? What could be the steps to put in place to ensure that the reintroduction of the financial regulations yields desired public accountability and transparency? It is against the foregoing questions that, this study will assess the impact of financial regulation on accountability in the public service between 2008 and 2017. The scope of the study is on two Federal Government agencies; National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) and National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA) Abuja. 

           

Despite the introduction and the revisions of the financial regulation policies and programs by various governments in Nigeria, the country is on daily basis losing huge financial resources to financial inefficiency, non-transparency and mismanagements. There are occurrences and recurrences of corruption, wastages, mismanagement of public funds and all the efforts made have so far defied significant improvement.  However, consequent to the above assertions, between 2-13 and 2017, the FGN lost over N557 billion to non-compliance with financial regulations and the Public Procurement Act by Ministries, Departments and agencies between 2013 and 2017 (Federal Government of Nigeria Annual Audit Report, 2015.). Thus, some fundamental problems are despite the efforts made by successive governments, the rate of corruption in the public service/sector is high, there are questions as to the efficacy of the mechanisms being used and further steps to be taken to ensure accountability in the Nigerian public service. There are evidences of several cases of violation of financial regulation in Nigeria specifically in Federal Government Ministries, Department and Agencies (MDAs). Within the study period, the Auditor General of the Federation discovered and compiled in the audit report of the programmes and performance of the MDAs in the year ended, December, 2015, that, Federal Ministries and other agencies are in the web of public financial irregularities mismanaging public finances and indicted many, including the then Accountant General of the Federation (AGF) (FGN Annual Audit Report, 2015.) There is a negative effect on the meagre resources with far-reaching and attendant consequences on the development of the socio-economic or political programmes of the nation (Bello, 2001).  

          

In a similar vein; the Annual Audit Report for the year ended 2015 has exposed another N556.2 million missing in the Federation Account. In his audited report of the federation account; he accused the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) of mismanaging about N3.5bn. Furthermore, the National Space Research Development Agency (NASRDA) Abuja, was not spared in the imbroglio as the findings further showed that the agency under the Ministry of Science and Technology was also in 2015 found guilty in misappropriation of N42.7 million naira. According to the report, it was discovered during the periodic check on the books of NASRDA that the agency paid the sum of N17, 654,973.00 to some nine members of staff of the agency as pocket expenses which was in excess of N200, 000 for direct purchase of supplies and other services which contravenes the provision of Financial Regulations and Circular dated 24th March, 2009 with Ref. No. TRY A28/B2/2009, which explicitly stated that all local purchases of stores and services above N200, 000.00 shall be completed vide local purchase order. Similarly, the agency was also accused of granting subsequent advances when previous ones were yet to be retired by the beneficiaries.

 

The following research questions were adopted with a view to facilitate the attainment of the study objectives.

a. How does compliance to internal Audit reviews enhances accountability in the selected public organizations in Nigeria? And secondly,

b.What is the effect of enforcement of sanctions on breaches of some provisions of the financial regulations on accountability in the selected public organizations in Nigeria?

Literature Review

Like many other concepts, accountability has no single satisfactory and comprehensive definition. Various scholars have put different views as regard to the subject matter.  Adegite, (2017) conceptualized accountability as as the obligation to demonstrate that work has been done in accordance with agreed rules and standards and the officers reports fairly and accurately vis-a- vis mandated roles and plans. Johnson, (2016) is of the view that accountability simply connotes that those who are charged drafting and carrying out policies should be obliged to give an explanation of their actions with regards to management of funds. According to Okah & Ohwoyibo, (2015). They argued that accountability reflects the need for government and its agencies to serve the public effectively in accordance with the laws of the land, While Appah, (2014) is of the view that the principles of public sector accountability is a function of transparency, fairness, integrity and trust in the course of serving the nation. Olowu, (2002) posited that public accountability refers to answerability for ones’ actions or behavior. He corroborated that it has three crucial components namely: a clear definition of responsibility, reporting mechanisms, and a system of review, rewards, and sanctions.  Ujah, (2014) viewed Public Accountability; as a system whereby, public officers are made to give account of their stewardship to members of the public. He progressed to explain the term public as referring to the generality of the populace, the people or segment of the society particularly touched by the subject matter on which an account is demanded. It is important to note that public interest is supposed to be crucial to public accountability. Therefore, Public accountability presupposes that an official or person who has been assigned duties/hold public office should be held responsible for his/her actions and the consequences emanating from them. 

          

Regulation implies an official instruction made by government or some other specialist. It is an arrangement of particular instructions or concurred conduct either enforced by some political leadership or an institution outside government circle, or by an explicit agreement inside the business that shave the exercises and business tasks of the organizations with a view to accomplish a characterized objective (Chris, 2014). Regulation is viewed as an assortment of particular standards of accepted conduct either enforced by some political authority’s unequivocal understanding within the organization that bound the exercises and activities of money related establishments (Olorushola, 2013). It can be watched that, financial control remains in position to guarantee rules are observed, conduct is sterilized and tasks among partners are guided toward effective and efficient financial regulations  

         

Financial Regulation as defined by Eatwell and sighted by Etuk (2015) is a very complex concept, there is no usually acknowledged set of hypothetical standards characterizing it, and in most cases used to refer the rules and laws governing the conduct of financial transactions in government circle. It is an arrangement of particular standards or concurred conduct enforced by government or its organizations to have the capacity to control and guide the exercises monetary framework for the accomplishment of target objectives (Chris, 2013). Ekpo, (2016), sees financial regulations as riles and guidelines that are principally essential for probity and transparency in the regulation and management of public funds and expenditure.

Financial regulation functions as a core to the effectiveness and solidity of financial system (monetary stability). Financial establishments play a crucial part in assembling investments, and well-organized conversion of investments into actual wealth for investment. Therefore, the presence of an unlimited amount of threats intrinsic in the course of financial intermediation and development conversion pose risk to the effectiveness of the financial system. Moreover, to create assurance in the structure characterized by unpredictable atmosphere, financial regulation becomes the facilitator for moderating the survival of market catastrophes ascending from external sources, market control and information difficulties (Chris, 2013). 

 

Umar, (2017). The concept of accountability implies the responsibility of the bureaucrats to give an   account of their routine and the method in which they have exercised power conferred on them. Its main purpose is to check incorrect and indiscriminate organizational actions and increase efficiency and effectiveness of administrative process.  Closely related to this, Adebayo and Okeke (2021), explained financial regulations as rules and guidelines that are sacrosanct when it comes to government financial businesses and monetary deals within government circles. However, Oguntimehin and Adewumi (2020) see financial regulations as a policy guide to policy and government decision makers when it comes to management of government financial transactions in a country. Abiola and Oyinloye (2020) corroborated the above definition of the concept. 

 

1.1              Public Service

            The Public Service is a body or a department in the executive arm of government charged with the responsibility of the execution of policies and programmes of government. The employees in public service are known as public servants who implement virtuously governmental functions ranging from policy formulations, implementation and other government policies and programmes. Its divided in to departments and each of these departments has their deliverables and specific functions. The civil service is a term used to cover those public servants who are direct employees of the federal and state governments (Mohammed, 2018)

Internal Audit  

Internal auditing as it is used in this study is the periodic spot checks and annual audit of accounts of MDAs to ascertain the effectiveness of the internal control systems. It is conducted on MDAS by supervising departments in the MDAS. It is an overall monitoring activity with responsibility to management for assessing the effectiveness of control procedures which are the responsibility of other functional managers. The internal audit function is not limited to the operation of any particular function within an organization rather, it is all-embracing. It   has been a recognized component of organizations in both the public and private sectors for years. 

         

The objectives of internal audit are unarguably broad but governments differ in their commitment to them.  This is why it is generally asserted that the effectiveness of internal audit can only be as good as the commitment of government to pursue these objectives. According to Unegbu and Obi (2012), internal audit is part of the internal control system put in place by management of an organization to ensure adherence to stipulated work procedure and as aid to management.  They believe that internal audit measures, analyses and evaluates the efficiency and effectiveness of other controls established by management in order to ensure smooth administration, control cost minimization, capacity utilization and maximum benefit derivation.  This implies that internal audit is an integral part of a complex system designed by the management of any organization to ensure orderly conduct of its business and prevent abuse of assets.  

 

Adeniji (2011) states that internal audit is part of the internal control system put in place by management of an organization.  He believes it is an aid to management which ensures that the financial operations are correctly carried out according to the law and also in accordance with the wishes of the board or council.  Barker (1999) while corroborating the views of Owler and Brown (1999) extends the objective of internal audit to include review of the operations and record of the undertaking and in course of these checks, much of the detailed work of the organization in respect of financial and other statements are effectively audited.  

          

Deepak (2010) sees internal audit as an independent and objective assurance and consulting function designed to help an organization to achieve its objectives. He identifies the objectives to include:  Effectiveness and efficiency of operations (programmes and projects), reliability of financial and operational information, safeguarding of assets, compliance with rules and regulations and prevention and detection of fraud. This implies that internal audit is an integral part of a complex system designed by the management of any organization to ensure orderly conduct of its business and prevent abuse of assets.   

Sanctions  

This is defined as a disciplinary measure or reprimand, which causes panic, criticism when one is involved in an unlawful or illegal act.  It is also seen as a measure to instill orderliness and conformity to established rules and regulations. In order words, sanction is used as a form of discipline in this research, this discipline which is enforced on breaches not directly or immediately resulting in loses to government and breaches on poor management of accounts of Ministries Departments Agencies (MDAS). 

         

One of the major problems of rules and regulations introduced in Nigeria, including the financial regulations has suffered much on the issue of compliance. Regrettably, the prescribed practices haven’t been observed by a number of government ministries and agencies (Agaba & Shipman, 2007). Gelderman et al. (2006) stipulate that compliance happens when the target performs a requested action, but is indifferent about it, rather than passionate, and puts in only a negligible or average strength. However, as an organizational result, compliance has conventionally been assumed as conformism or compliance guidelines and legislation. 

Enforcement could be generally regarded as any actions taken by regulators to guarantee compliance (Zubcic & Sims, 2011). There are diverse thoughts concerning the weight of enforcement of sanctions on compliance. A number of scholars such as Sparrow (1994), disbelief there is direct influence of enforcement on regulatory compliance. They maintain that enforcement may make violators of such laws more refined on how to preclude, and hide discovery by the establishments. However, a number of scholars agree that enforcement increases compliance which lead to accountability.  A number of research works like (Hufbauer, & et al., 1983; Pape 1997; Baldwin, 2000; Hovi, Huseby et al. 2005), has centered most on detailed matters, enquiring if discipline or sanctions were effective or not and to some extent analyzing the accidental paraphernalia of sanctions (Mueller & Mueller 1999; Andreas 2005). 

         

According to Galtung (1967), sanctions is conceptualized as actions originated by one or more actors (policy custodians) here, government or policy makers, against one or more others (erring public servants) that is, public servants with either or both of two purposes: to punish the receivers (erring public servants) by depriving them of some value and/or to make the receivers comply with certain norms the senders (policy makers) deem important. The act of discipline initiated by the custodian of the government policies are solely aimed at reprimanding the erring public servants whose duties are to guard against the occurrence of such breaches. These actions at the end will deprive them of some values or compel them to comply to the financial regulation laws of the country. 

          

According to O'Donnell (2003), Sanction is one of the basic instruments of accountability which is second to none. The threat of discipline because of terrible or poor performance, discretional abuse or other negative conduct in conveying public services. Holding people responsible for their actions assist in creating distrust over the exercise of authority   the literature recognizes the reciprocal ideas of accountability in both vertical and horizontal manners. The previous points to a connection between administrators (for example citizens/civic society) and agents (for example government authorities) in which citizens either rebuff or award political leaders by projecting their votes in periodic elections (Adsera, Boix and Payne 2003). 

 

1.5 Empirical Review

 Numerous researches have been carried out on financial Regulations and accountability in the public sector. Each of these studies has been characterized by differences in study location, differences in definition of the explanatory variables, differences in discovery index structure as well as differences in statistical analysis. These empirical researches is used in answering all the objectives of the research.  Kina and Quintyn, (2004) find the effect of regulatory authority on financial system stability, they used multi cross-sectional statistics of third world and industrialized nations and applied subjective Least -square regression, establish a worth stimulus of regulatory governance on financial system reliability. Using variables replicating macroeconomic circumstances, structure of the banking system and the value of governmental establishments and public sector governance. The results of the study lend credence to the claim by Nnadi (2006) and Daniel (2013) that Nigeria has had a long history of official corruption and poor management of public funds by government officials. The findings further support the elite theory whereby few privileged individuals tend to abuse positions of authority given to them to manage and control common resources for the benefit of all, but they take advantage of such privileges and rub the majority of the intended benefits for their selfish interests.  

          

Onuorah and Appah (2012) examined accountability and public sector financial management in Nigeria from 1961-2008. The research discovered that the level of accountability is very poor in Nigeria because the characteristics of openness, inclusiveness, significance, consistency and appropriate revelation of economic, social and political facts about government transactions are totally inaccessible or moderately obtainable for the citizens to evaluate the performance of public employees and political office holders. It is on this note that, the research suggested among things for accountability to be effective in the management of public funds in Nigeria, there must be meaningful reduction in the level of corruption, refining public sector accounting and auditing ethics and the country’s legislators must champion the cause of accountability and reorganize the public accounts teams which must reflect in the conduct of government business transactions. 

          

Ademola and Alade (2015) examined the effect of financial control system in Nigeria public sector using the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation as a case study. Primary and secondary source information were used and Chi-square and Pearson’s correlation coefficient used in testing the hypotheses. The questionnaire stimulated processes on separation of obligations, internal review, and physical control. About 150 respondents from various departments ranging from finance, administration and marketing. Others are purchasing departments of the organization. The study reveals that the establishment of internal control structure plays an important role in fraud and irregularities prevention.  

          

Mihret and Yismaw (2007) did a study entitled Internal Audit Effectiveness: An Ethiopian Public Sector Case Study. The study which used structured questionnaire, interview and observations as instruments of data collection discovered that certain factors such as internal audit quality, support from management, etc. strongly affect effectiveness of internal audit while organizational structure and internal auditor’s attributes have less impact on the same variable. 

 

Theoretical Framework

This research work adopted the “New Institutional Theory” a theoretical framework which is dependable on two goals. Firstly, the study is mounted within the acute financial regulatory standpoint, so that a precarious theoretical methodology is applicable. Secondly, while numerous hypothetical methods have been agreed in exploring laid down rules and public accountability questions in developed societies, this research is concerned with emerging or third world economies’ viewpoint since Nigeria is a is one of those.

          

However, the new institutionalists’ method has its origins in the early to mid-1980s. NIT often reflected two of the leading authors of the new institutionalism, James G. March who was an American political scientist and Johan P a Norwegian political scientist.

          

A number of popular theoretical approaches that have been explored in public sector financial regulation and accountability research has not sufficed for this study and there are explanations as to why these theories are not adopted. Subsequently, the theoretical direction of this study is the popular New Institutional Theory (NIT) within a broader political economy theory. Nevertheless, Goddard (2010) explained that there are a number of theoretical approaches adopted in public sector financial control researches. But while Jacobs (2012) explained that there is an increasing demand for the application of critical theoretical perspectives in the public sector, hence, the selection of the New Institutional Theory. Even though the issue of the most appropriate theoretical framework remains debatable, New Institutional theory remain the most appropriate when it comes to studying institutions with reference to the public sector. Furthermore, an important point is that the majority of the research on public finance and accountability issues have been classified as technical, descriptive, interpretive, functionalist and sociological in nature (Broadbent & Guthrie, 2008). The approach adopted in this study is a unique theoretical Institutional approach; (Institutional Theory) framed within Bureaucratic theory, and drawing on notions of New Institutional Theory

           

NIT is viewed as the most widely recognized hypothetical methodology in researches in the public sector (Dillard et al., 2004; Van Helden, 2005; Jacobs, 2010a). The underlying foundations of New institutional hypothesis run through the early years of social sciences, continuing in the nineteenth century while the increased knowledge in the interactions of institutions were at the increase in a similar industry with respect to how similar they were (DiMaggio & Powell, 1983). A major reason that led to the advancements and development of the NIT is the wide scope of its application (Dillard etal., 2004). At first, New institutional scholars expected that institutional thoughts are for the private sector (Broadbent et al., 2001). Notwithstanding, presently it has been built up that the hypothesis is appropriate in public organizations, although in varying degrees of applications (Scott, 2005).  

        

However, it is important to state that the New Institutional theory which is based on Isomorphism appears in three methods, viz. coercive, normative and mimetic. Coercive isomorphism can be seen from the pressure that originates from the law, government regulations, ministerial regulations, in this regard, Financial Regulations can best fit into this with a view to ensuring accountability in the public service. Normative isomorphism appears in the form of the use of specialized employees, the creation of an informal professional at the time of dissemination and socialization. Mimetic isomorphism can be seen from the organization's struggles to imitate other organization that has been previously prosperous. Coercive isomorphism in this study which has been adopted can be seen from the weight and force to conform with rules and regulations, which will ensure accountability in the public sector and that is the framework of this research

 

Weaknesses of the New Institutional Theory 

From the beginning of the 1990s, new institutionalism has been tangled in many debates, and temporarily new guidelines for theoretical expansion have developed (Greenwood et al.2008). One strong criticism among the debates is that while new institutionalism tentatively accounts for the comparison or strength of organizational activities in a given organizational ground, it has continuously disregarded the roles of actors in institutional change. One sharp analysis is that advanced by Scott (2005), who noted two major disputes to be measured when theorizing and carrying out research on institutions.  First, personalities and organizations have what it takes to restructure the rules, norms and principles that control their activities.

            

Secondly, institutional surroundings are not uniform, but often entail of fluctuating and even contradictory institutional rationalities.  It is also important to note that the old institutionalism analysis for the role of the interest driven conduct of agents is overlooked by the new institutional theorists, and consequently the mixture of the two perceptions can complete the hypothesizing on institutions, predominantly with respects to understanding institutional transformation. Devoid of revealing old institutionalism, other theorists (Beckert, 1999; Hirsch, 1997; Hirsch & Lounsbury, 1997; Hoffman & Ventresca, 2002; Lawrence, Suddaby, & Leca, 2009; Oliver, 1991) called for a restoration of agency, power and interest in institutional exploration. In a nutshell, little or no attention is paid to the role of individual agency in Institutional transformations. 

          

However, despite the weaknesses of the new Institutional Theory, since the central emphasis of the New institutional theory is on rules, norms, and cultural philosophies that gives a meaning to social life and have a coercive or supportive outcome on public action, it suffices as a framework of this study.

 

Relevance of The New Institutional Theory to The Study

Institutional theorists rather than thinking of organizations in the field as subject to a common set of pressures and acting in a relatively homogeneous fashion, these scholars noted the complexities and diversity of organizational compliance to the law as well as the degree to which specialists within the organizations assisted to formulate the law and shaped the regulations that fashioned ‘best’ practice in the field of employment regulation and office privileges. This attention to internal influences and the heterogeneity of reactions amplified concern with the role of agency in institutionalization. It also intensified acknowledgement that institutionalization is a governmental process, and the accomplishment of the process and the method it takes depends on the comparative power of the actors who struggle to navigate it, as DiMaggio argued in 1988. This new attention to institutional transformation generated productive research, addressing how changes in rules, normative systems, and cognitive principles redesign organizational fields.

         

The theory also provides a rich complex view of organizations since they have become leading and widely shared reference in public Administration (Frederickson 1999). They consider public institutions as pillars of political order (instrumentalities of law and rules) in which financial regulations fits in, outcome of societal values (transparency and accountability) which is the sole focus of this research and lastly, as self-constructed social systems which provides exciting arenas for academic debates and equally offers pragmatic principles. The theory is applicable to a number of disciplines in the social and management sciences. Thus, its applicability across disciplines might seems sizable but a remark must be made that there are important differences in such applications of the theory in those disciplines (Peters, 2005) for an excellent overview. 

 

1.5 Methodology

The research design for this study is the observational research designs. It does not involve manipulating an independent variable. Instead, observational research designs simply observe and measure variables without interfering with the natural course of events. Interviews can be used in observational research to collect data on the variables of interest, as it is the case in this study. The total population of the three departments (Audit, finance and Administration) selected for the research is 52 staff, 26 in NASRDA and 25 in NIMC.  This research adopted the purposive sampling technique, a nonprobability sampling technique which categorized the samples into areas of need for attaining the specific objectives of the research. The selection of the three departments was because of the conviction of the researcher that the information required could only be realistically obtained from them because of the peculiar roles related to the research focus they play in the organizations. While the secondary method is the study of various documents such as books, journals, periodicals of government and other written and documented materials that have direct bearing to the topic under discussion with a view to exposing this information to a logical thinking in order to find answers to the raised objectives of the study. In all, a total of 16 staff of NIMC and 15 for NASRDA were purposefully sampled for the oral interview and their responses recorded.

 

The purposefully sampled population in the two agencies answered all the questions of the research. The sampled population of the two agencies are also the key informants owing to the peculiarities of the topic of research. The information obtained for this study from the key informants of the two organizations was purely on the principles and acceptance of both parties (interviewees and the researcher) for a source protection agreement. The study utilized primary data collected basically through structured opened ended interview questions with questions derived from the Federal Government Financial Regulations policy document.  Interviews are designed and drawn in the areas relevant to the research questions and objectives.

         

These interviews were drawn to elicit information on how the selected public organization do comply with financial regulation and either this compliance does have effect on accountability of the agencies. The interview was administered to some selected staff of NIMC and NASRDA in Abuja. The open-ended, semi-structured methods as in-depth interviews were designed to allow the respondents to express their opinion on particular issues without restriction. This, the researcher believed would lead to getting some information which the researcher might not envisage or might not get through the quantitative means. The opened ended interviews however, were designed to guide the respondents in answering questions that they might not really have appropriate answers to as envisaged by the researcher.  Here, the strategy of “Taking Notes” was used primarily to get the information from the purposeful sample because of the skepticism experienced from that target population during the interview.

         

To ensure the content validity of the interview question topic guide, it was reviewed by two senior academics in the Department of Public Administration, School of Business Administration and Management, Federal Polytechnic, Bauchi and a retired Director in a Finance Ministry. The technique for analyzing the data is the Nvivo word cloud qualitative software through the word frequency, word Count and weighted percentages of responses for each of the research questions

 

Results and Discussion

A total of fifty-two (52) targeted staff comprising of a purposeful sample of 16 staff of NIMC and 15 for NASRDA were taken for the oral interview and their responses recorded. The purposefully sampled population in the two agencies answered all the questions of the research. The information was collated from key informants of the two organization as such information is rarely found in some other categories of staff. The results are presented thus;

 

Internal Audit Reviews

Table 1: Word Frequency and Word Count for Research Question 1 (Sub-Question1): How does Internal audit carried out in your organization.

Word

Length

Count

Weighted Percentage (%)

Similar Words

Audit

5

9

20

Audit

Prepaid

7

7

15.55

Prepaid

 

 

 

 

 

Feasible

8

6

13.33

Feasible

Organization

12

4

8.88

Organization

Procedures

10

4

8.88

Procedures, procedure

Strictly

8

3

6.66

Strictly

Observed

8

3

6.66

Observed, observe

Almost

6

3

6.66

Almost

Checked

7

3

6.66

Checked, check

Passed

6

3

6.66

Passed, pass

Source: Field Work, 2023 (Nvivo Data Analysis Results)

Table 1 presents an analysis of Word Frequency and Word Count for Research Question 1 (Sub-Question 1) concerning how internal audits are carried out in the organization. The word "audit" appears most frequently with a count of 9, indicating the central focus of the internal audit process. "Prepaid" is mentioned 7 times, suggesting that certain activities or expenses are paid in advance. The term "Feasible" (6 mentions) suggests that the audit process is conducted in a manner that is practical and achievable. The words "Organization" (4 mentions) and "Procedures" (4 mentions) highlight the importance of organizational structure and established protocols. Additionally, terms like "Strictly" (3 mentions), "Observed" (3 mentions), and "Checked" (3 mentions) indicate a rigorous approach to auditing, ensuring compliance and accuracy. The occurrence of "almost" (3 mentions) and "passed" (3 mentions) suggests that the audit process is nearly comprehensive and successfully completed.

 

Table 2: Word Frequency and Word Count for Question 1 (Sub-Question 2): What report do Internal auditors produce and at what frequency?

Word

Length

Count

Weighted Percentage (%)

Similar Words

Reports

7

38

25.67

Reports, report

Submitted

9

21

14.18

Submitted, submit

Rendered

8

16

10.81

Rendered, render

Even

4

15

10.13

Even

Sometimes

9

12

8.10

Sometimes

Hence

5

11

7.43

Hence

Rarely

6

10

6.75

Rarely

Compiled

8

10

6.75

Compiled, compile

Always

6

8

5.40

Always

Yearly

6

7

4.73

Yearly, year

Source: Field Work, 2023 (Nvvo Data Analysis Results)

 

The analysis of Table 2 reveals insights into Question 1 (Sub-Question 2) regarding the reports produced by internal auditors and their frequency. The word "Reports" is the most frequently mentioned with a count of 38, indicating that internal auditors produce diverse reports. Additionally, terms such as "Submitted" (21 mentions), "Rendered" (16 mentions), and "Even" (15 mentions) suggest a regular production of reports. Conversely, terms like "Sometimes" (12 mentions) and "Rarely" (10 mentions) imply variations in report frequency. The data highlights the perceived importance of reports ("Hence" with 11 mentions) and the meticulous approach employed in their production ("Compiled" with 10 mentions).

 

 

 

 

Table 3: Word Frequency and Word Count for Research Question 1 (Sub-Question 3): How are staff prepared for Internal audit instructions in this organization?

Word

Length

Count

Weighted Percentage (%)

Similar Words

Sometimes

9

18

16.07

Sometimes

Supporting

10

15

13.39

Supporting, support

Documents

9

15

13.39

Documents, document

Staff

5

13

11.60

Staff

Prepares

8

11

9.82

Prepares, prepare

Exercise

8

11

9.82

Exercise

Found

5

8

7.14

Found

Officer

7

7

6.25

Officer

Receipts

8

7

6.25

Receipts, receipt

Provided

8

7

6.25

Provided, provide

 

Table 3 provides valuable insights into Research Question 1 (Sub-Question 3), which focuses on how staff are prepared for internal audit instructions in the organization. The word "Sometimes" appears most frequently with a count of 18, indicating that staff preparation varies in frequency. The terms "Supporting" (15 mentions) and "Documents" (15 mentions) suggest that supporting documents play a significant role in the preparation process. The word "Staff" appears 13 times, emphasizing the involvement of organizational personnel. Additionally, terms like "Prepares" (11 mentions) and "Exercise" (11 mentions) highlight the active steps taken to prepare staff. The data also indicates the presence of "Officer" (7 mentions), "Receipts" (7 mentions), and "Provided" (7 mentions) in the preparation process.

 

Table 4: Word Frequency and Word Count for Research Question 1 (Sub-Question 4): What is the use of audit stamps in your organization?

Word

Length

Count

Weighted Percentage (%)

Similar Words

Stamp

5

20

20.83

Stamp

Used

4

12

12.5

Used, use

Payments

8

8

8.33

Payments, payment

Certification

13

8

8.33

Certification

Aside

5

8

8.33

Aside

Certifying

10

8

8.33

Certifying

Accounting

10

8

8.33

Accounting

Books

5

8

8.33

Books, book

Records

7

8

8.33

Records, record

Shows

5

8

8.33

Shows, show

Source: Field Work, 2023 (Nvvo Data Analysis Results)

Table 4.4 provides an analysis of Word Frequency and Word Count for Research Question 1 (Sub-Question 4) regarding the use of audit stamps in the organization. The word "Stamp" appears most frequently with a count of 20, indicating the prominent role of audit stamps. The word "Used" is mentioned 12 times, suggesting that the stamps are actively utilized. The terms "Payments" (8 mentions), "Certification" (8 mentions), "Aside" (8 mentions), "Certifying" (8 mentions), "accounting" (8 mentions), "Books" (8 mentions), "Records" (8 mentions), and "shows" (8 mentions) all highlight various aspects related to the use and purpose of audit stamps. The data suggests that audit stamps are utilized for certifying payments, maintaining accounting records, and demonstrating compliance.

 

Table 5: Word Frequency and Word Count for Research Question 1 (Sub-Question 5): Are Internal auditors allowed to conduct independent audit in your organization?

Word

Length

Count

Weighted Percentage (%)

Similar Words

Access

6

49

26.92

Access

Organization

12

24

13.18

Organization

Records

7

20

10.98

Records, record

Independent

11

13

7.14

Independent

Audit

5

13

7.14

Audit

Unrestricted

12

13

7.14

Unrestricted,

Stores

6

13

7.14

Stores, store

Strictly

8

13

7.14

Strictly, strict

Practiced

9

13

7.14

Practiced, practice

Auditors

8

11

6.04

Auditors, auditor

Source: Field Work, 2023 (Nvvo Data Analysis Results)

 

Table 5 presents the Word Frequency and Word Count analysis for Research Question 1 (Sub-Question 5) regarding the ability of internal auditors to conduct independent audits in the organization. The word "access" appears most frequently with a count of 49, suggesting that internal auditors have extensive access to information and resources. The term "Organization" is mentioned 24 times, indicating the organizational context of the audits. "Records" (20 mentions) highlights the importance of reviewing and analyzing organizational records. The words "Independent" (13 mentions), "Audit" (13 mentions), "Unrestricted" (13 mentions), "Stores" (13 mentions), "Strictly" (13 mentions), and "Practiced" (13 mentions) all emphasize the ability of internal auditors to conduct independent and rigorous audits. The term "auditors" (11 mentions) confirms that the analysis pertains to the auditors themselves.

 

Table 6: Word Frequency and Word Count for Research Question 1 (Sub-Question 6): How does Internal audit ensures that all retirement on any cash advance are made in your organization?

Word

Length

Count

Weighted Percentage (%)

Similar Words

Cash

4

39

20.74

Cash

Advances

8

38

20.21

Advances

Retirement

10

38

20.21

Retirement, retire, retired

Always

6

23

12.23

Always

Final

5

12

6.38

Final

Audit

5

10

5.31

Audit

Advance

7

9

4.78

Advance

Made

4

7

3.72

Made

Issues

6

6

3.19

Issues

Resolved

8

6

3.19

Resolved, resolve

Source: Field Work, 2023 (Nvvo Data Analysis Results)

 

Table 6 provides an analysis of Word Frequency and Word Count for Research Question 1 (Sub-Question 6), which focuses on how internal audits ensure that all retirements on any cash advances are made in the organization. The words "Cash" and "Advances" appear most frequently with counts of 39 and 38 respectively, highlighting the significance of cash advances in the organization. "Retirement" is also mentioned 38 times, indicating the attention given to the proper settlement of cash advances. The word "Always" appears 23 times, suggesting a consistent approach to ensuring retirement of cash advances. The term "Final" (12 mentions) implies a thorough audit process. Additionally, words like "Audit" (10 mentions), "Advance" (9 mentions), "Made" (7 mentions), "issues" (6 mentions), and "resolved" (6 mentions) emphasize the resolution and management of cash advance-related matters.

 

Table 7: Word Frequency and Word Count for Research Question 1 (Sub-Question 7): What are the requirements for Internal audit while vetting of retirements in your organization?

 

Word

Length

Count

Weighted Percentage (%)

Similar Words

Expenses

8

31

24.03

Expenses, expense

Proof

5

14

10.85

Proof

Authorization

13

11

8.52

Authorization

Retired

7

11

8.52

Retired, retire

Vetting

7

11

8.52

Vetting, vet

Afterwards

10

11

8.52

Afterwards

Strictly

8

11

8.52

Strictly, strict

Organization

12

11

8.52

Organization

Always

6

9

6.97

Always

Cash

4

9

6.97

Cash

Source: Field Work, 2023 (Nvvo Data Analysis Results)

 

Table 7 presents the Word Frequency and Word Count analysis for Research Question 1 (Sub-Question 7), which explores the requirements for internal audits when vetting retirements in the organization. The term "Expenses" appears most frequently with a count of 31, indicating the focus on scrutinizing and verifying expenses during the retirement process. "Proof" is mentioned 14 times, emphasizing the need for supporting documentation. The word "Authorization" (11 mentions) highlights the importance of proper authorization for retirements. Additionally, terms like "Retired" (11 mentions), "Vetting" (11 mentions), "Afterwards" (11 mentions), "Strictly" (11 mentions), and "Organization" (11 mentions) underscore the meticulous and rigorous nature of the vetting process. The presence of "Always" (9 mentions) and "cash" (9 mentions) further highlights the consistency and financial aspect of retirements being vetted in the organization.

 

Table 8: Word Frequency and Word Count for Research Question 1 (Sub-Question 8): Has strict adherence to internal audit procedures and controls enhances accountability in your organization?

Word

Length

Count

Weighted Percentage (%)

Similar Words

Yes

3

28

11.11

Yes

Adherence

9

28

11.11

Adherence, adhere

Internal

8

28

11.11

Internal

Audit

5

28

11.11

Audit

Procedure

9

28

11.11

Procedure

Controls

8

28

11.11

Controls, control

Enhances

8

28

11.11

Enhances, enhance

accountability

14

28

11.11

Accountability, account, accountable

organization

12

28

11.11

Organization

Source: Field Work, 2023 (Nvvo Data Analysis Results)

 

Table 8 provides an analysis of Word Frequency and Word Count for Research Question 1 (Sub-Question 8), which examines whether strict adherence to internal audit procedures and controls enhances accountability in the organization. The word "yes" appears most frequently with a count of 28, indicating a positive response to the question. The terms "Adherence," "Internal," "Audit," "Procedure," "Controls," "Enhances," "Accountability," and "Organization" all have counts of 28 as well, emphasizing their equal importance in the context of the research question. These words collectively suggest that strict adherence to internal audit procedures and controls leads to enhanced accountability within the organization. The data indicates that the organization recognizes the value of internal audit processes in promoting transparency, responsibility, and oversight.

 

In summary, from the tables above, on NIMC, responses to question 4, 5 6, 7 and 8 indicates that there is strict compliance to the provisions of the financial regulations which enhances accountability in the study area. In other words, NIMC staff awareness of financial regulations and their application on internal audit procedures is not in doubt. This is justified by the responses received from the interviewees as shown on the Nvivo word cloud count and weighted percentages of question 4 with 20 (20.83%), 12 (12.5%) & 8 (8.33%), while, (5), 49 (26.92%), 24 (13.8%)) &10 (98%), (6), 39 (20.74%), 38 (20.21%) & 38 (20.21%). Also, question 7 with 31 (24.03%), 14 (10.85%) & 11 (8.52%).  Lastly, question has equal sequences in the context of the research which means there is strong relationship between the variables. On the other hand, responses to question numbers 1, 2, and 3 based on the notes taken at the time of the interview simply signifies that the effects of financial regulations on accountability with respect to these Internal audit responsibility dimensions are questionable. This is evident by the responses received for research question 1, 2 and 3 with 9 (20%), 7 (15.5%) & 6 (13.33%, and, 38 (25.67%), 21 (14.18%) & 16 (10.81%), And, 18 (16.07%), 15 (13.39%) & 15 (13.39%) respectively.

 

Implicitly, NASRDA’s responses on the results disclosed that public servants are well familiar with the provisions of financial regulations as affecting internal audit on breaches of financial regulations provisions but do not adhere strictly to these provisions in their daily financial operations. In other words, some provisions of the internal audit are either circumvented or rarely complied with in the study area. This is evident by the skepticism recorded on question 2, 3 and 6. These negative responses is justified by Nvivo word cloud and weighted percentages with question 2, having 38 (25.67%), 21 (14.183%) & 16 (10.81%), and for question 3, 49 (26.92%), 24 (13.18%) & 20 (10.98%). Lastly, for research question 6, there are 39 (20.74%), 8 (20.1%) & 38 (20.1%). Moreover, the responses received on question 1, 4, 5, 7 and 8 indicates that there is to a greater extent compliance to internal audit reviews in the study area, but much needed to be done in order to have greater effect on accountability.  This is justified by weighted percentages for question 1 as 9 (20%), 7 (15.5%) & 6 (13.33%), 4, 20 (20.83%), 12 (12.5%) & 8 (8.3%). While question 5 has 49 (26.92%), 24 (13.18%) & 20 (10.98%). Question 7 has 39 (20.74%), 38 (20.21%) & 38 (20.21%). On the relationship of the variable, research question 8 has equal sequence 30 (11.11) in the research question which indicates that strict adherence to internal audit exercises enhances accountability.

Enforcement of Sanction on Breaches Resulting in Loses to Government

Table 9: Word Frequency and Word Count for Research Question 2 (Sub-Question1): If a query on unauthorized variation of contract{s} and procurement remains unanswered/unsatisfactory explained after the time limit, what happens to the defaulting staff? 

Word

Length

Count

Weighted Percentage (%)

Similar Words

Sanctions

9

27

18.88

Sanctions, sanction

Unauthorized

12

23

16.08

Unauthorized

Variations

9

23

6.99

Variations, variation

Removal

7

10

6.99

Removal

Schedule

8

10

6.99

Schedule

Prosecution

11

10

6.99

Prosecution, prosecute

Easily

6

10

6.99

Easily, easy

Attract

7

10

6.99

Attract

Stiffer

7

10

6.99

Stiffer

Penalties

9

10

6.99

Penalties

Source: Field Work, 2023 (Nvvo Data Analysis Results)

 

Table 9 presents the Word Frequency and Word Count analysis for Research Question 2 (Sub-Question 1), which explores the consequences for staff members who default on addressing queries related to unauthorized variations of contracts and procurement within the time limit. The word "Sanctions" appears most frequently with a count of 27, indicating that the defaulting staff may face disciplinary actions or penalties. The term "Unauthorized" is mentioned 23 times, highlighting the significance of addressing unauthorized variations. Similarly, "Variations" (23 mentions) emphasizes the importance of addressing any unauthorized changes to contracts and procurement. The word "Removal" (10 mentions) suggests that one possible consequence could be the removal of the defaulting staff from their position. Additionally, terms like "Schedule" (10 mentions), "Prosecution" (10 mentions), "Easily" (10 mentions), "Attract" (10 mentions), "Stiffer" (10 mentions), and "penalties" (10 mentions) all imply that the defaulting staff may face further repercussions, such as legal action, increased penalties, or other disciplinary measures.

 

Table 10: Word Frequency and Word Count for Research Question 2 (Sub-Question2): How does your organization treat an offense from an officer who makes an irregular payment from public funds without satisfactory explanation?

Word

Length

Count

Weighted Percentage (%)

Similar Words

Schedule

8

17

13.38

Schedule

Amount

6

16

12.59

Amount

Redeployed

10

16

12.59

Redeployed, redeploy

Even

4

12

9.44

Even

Made

4

11

8.66

Made

Pay

3

11

8.66

Pay

Involve

7

11

8.66

Involve

Instances

9

11

8.66

Instances, instance

Recovery

8

11

8.66

Recovery

Place

5

11

8.66

Place

Source: Field Work, 2023 (Nvvo Data Analysis Results)

 

Table 10 provides an analysis of Word Frequency and Word Count for Research Question 2 (Sub-Question 2), which explores how an organization treats an offense from an officer who makes an irregular payment from public funds without a satisfactory explanation. The word "Schedule" appears most frequently with a count of 17, suggesting that there is a structured approach or process in place for addressing such offenses. The term "Amount" is mentioned 16 times, indicating that the organization considers the magnitude of the irregular payment. "Redeployed" (16 mentions) suggests that the officer involved may be transferred or reassigned to a different role or department. The word "Even" (12 mentions) implies that the consequences for the offense are significant. Additionally, terms like "Made" (11 mentions), "Pay" (11 mentions), "Involve" (11 mentions), "instances" (11 mentions), "Recovery" (11 mentions), and "place" (11 mentions) allude to further actions taken by the organization to address the irregular payment, which may include recovery of funds, disciplinary measures, or legal actions.

Table 11: Word Frequency and Word Count for Research Question 2 (Sub-Question3): If an officer in-charge of store/store keeper fails to respond to query on a shortage or loss of stores within the stipulated time, what will be the penalty for such in your organization? 

Word

Length

Count

Weighted Percentage (%)

Similar Words

Officer

7

25

16.89

Officer

Surcharged

9

19

12.83

Surcharged, surcharge

Amount

6

19

12.83

Amount

Redeployed

10

18

12.16

Redeployed, redeploy

Sanctions

9

14

9.54

Sanctions, sanction

Total

5

13

8.78

Total

One

3

11

7.43

One

Removed

7

10

6.75

Removed, remove

Schedule

8

10

6.75

Schedule

Respond

7

9

6.08

Respond

Source: Field Work, 2023 (Nvvo Data Analysis Results)

 

Table 11 presents the Word Frequency and Word Count analysis for Research Question 2 (Sub-Question 3), which examines the penalties for an officer in charge of a store or storekeeper who fails to respond to a query on a shortage or loss of stores within the stipulated time. The word "Officer" appears most frequently with a count of 25, indicating that the penalties are specific to the officer in question. The term "Surcharged" is mentioned 19 times, suggesting that the officer may be subject to financial penalties or surcharges. "Amount" (19 mentions) implies that the penalties may be determined based on the extent of the shortage or loss. The word "Redeployed" (18 mentions) suggests that the officer may be reassigned or transferred to a different role. Additionally, terms like "Sanctions" (14 mentions), "Total" (13 mentions), "one" (11 mentions), "Removed" (10 mentions), "Schedule" (10 mentions), and "Respond" (9 mentions) indicate that the penalties may include disciplinary actions, removal from the position, or adherence to a specific schedule for response.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Table 12: Word Frequency and Word Count for Research Question 2 (Sub-Question 4): What happens to a cashier/officer who suffers a shortage or a loss of public funds without satisfactory explanation?

Word

Length

Count

Weighted Percentage (%)

Similar Words

Amount

 

21

18.91

Amount

Involved

 

11

9.91

Involved, involve

Surcharged

 

10

9.01

Surcharged, surcharge

Actual

 

10

9.01

Actual

Refund

 

10

9.01

Refund

Full

 

10

9.01

Full

Cogent

 

10

9.01

Cogent

Explanation

 

10

9.01

Explanation, explain

Redeployed

 

10

9.01

Redeployed, redeploy

Officer

 

9

8.11

Officer

Source: Field Work, 2023 (Nvvo Data Analysis Results)

 

Table 12 provides the Word Frequency and Word Count analysis for Research Question 2 (Sub-Question 4), which explores the consequences for a cashier or officer who experiences a shortage or loss of public funds without a satisfactory explanation. The word "Amount" appears most frequently with a count of 21, indicating that the organization focuses on determining the specific amount of the shortage or loss. The term "Involved" is mentioned 11 times, suggesting that the cashier or officer is directly implicated in the incident. "Surcharged" (10 mentions) implies that the individual may face financial penalties or surcharges related to the shortage or loss. Additionally, terms like "Actual" (10 mentions), "Refund" (10 mentions), "Full" (10 mentions), "Cogent" (10 mentions), "Explanation" (10 mentions), and "Redeployed" (10 mentions) indicate possible consequences such as requiring a full refund, providing a compelling explanation, or being reassigned to a different role or department. The word "officer" (9 mentions) further emphasizes that the consequences are specific to the cashier or officer involved in the incident.

 

Table 13: Word Frequency and Word Count for Research Question 2 (Sub-Question 5): How is an officer who fails to pay for the use of government property without convincing explanation sanctioned in your organization?

Word

Length

Count

Weighted Percentage (%)

Similar Words

Made

4

20

13.15

Made

Pay

3

20

13.15

Pay

Full

4

20

13.15

Full

Sanction

8

20

13.15

Sanction

Involved

8

17

11.18

Involved, involve

Breaches

7

11

7.23

Breaches, breach

Amount

6

11

7.23

Amount

Likely

6

11

7.23

Likely

Equally

7

11

7.23

Equally

Follow

6

11

7.23

Follow

Source: Field Work, 2023 (Nvvo Data Analysis Results)

Table 13 presents the Word Frequency and Word Count analysis for Research Question 2 (Sub-Question 5), which investigates how an officer who fails to pay for the use of government property without a convincing explanation is sanctioned in the organization. The words "Made," "Pay," "Full," and "Sanction" all have a count of 20, indicating their equal importance in the context of the research question. These terms suggest that the organization requires the officer to fulfill their payment obligations and may impose sanctions if they fail to do so. The words "Involved" (17 mentions) and "Breaches" (11 mentions) imply that the officer's direct involvement and the violation of established rules or policies are significant factors in determining the sanctions. Additionally, terms like "amount" (11 mentions), "Likely" (11 mentions), "Equally" (11 mentions), and "follow" (11 mentions) suggest that the organization may consider the amount owed, the likelihood of the violation, and the need for consistent enforcement in determining the appropriate sanctions.

 

Table 14: Word Frequency and Word Count for Research Question 2 (Sub-Question 6): How is an officer who misused public funds/spent public money without due regard to laid down rules is handled in your organization?

Word

Length

Count

Weighted Percentage (%)

Similar Words

Removed

7

24

14.54

Removed, remove

Schedule

8

24

14.54

Schedule

Staff

5

24

14.54

Staff

Times

5

19

11.51

Times

Question

8

19

11.51

Question

Especially

10

11

6.66

Especially

Personal

8

11

6.66

Personal

Relationship

12

11

6.66

Relationship

Top

3

11

6.66

Top

Officers

8

11

6.66

Officers, officer

Source: Field Work, 2023 (Nvvo Data Analysis Results)

 

Table 14 provides the Word Frequency and Word Count analysis for Research Question 2 (Sub-Question 6), which explores how an officer who misused public funds or spent public money without adhering to established rules is handled in the organization. The words "Removed," "Schedule," and "Staff" all have a count of 24, indicating their equal significance in the context of the research question. These terms suggest that the organization may take actions such as removing the officer from their position, establishing a schedule for addressing the issue, or involving staff members in the resolution process. The words "Times" (19 mentions) and "Question" (19 mentions) may indicate that the organization thoroughly investigates the misuse of public funds and seeks to clarify any uncertainties. Additionally, terms like "Especially" (11 mentions), "personal" (11 mentions), "Relationship" (11 mentions), "Top" (11 mentions), and "officers" (11 mentions) suggest that the organization may pay particular attention to cases involving personal relationships or high-ranking officers. These terms provide insights into how the organization handles instances of misuse of public funds, emphasizing the importance of accountability, investigation, and appropriate disciplinary measures.

 

Table 15: Word Frequency and Word Count for Research Question 2 (Sub-Question 7): What is the nature of sanction meted to an officer who makes irregular payment without satisfactory explanation?

Word

Length

Count

Weighted Percentage (%)

Similar Words

Officer

7

23

22.11

Officer

Organization

12

13

12.5

Organization

Held

4

11

10.57

Held

Question

8

9

8.65

Question

Known

5

8

7.69

Known

Ways

4

8

7.69

Ways

Likely

6

8

7.69

Likely

Go

2

8

7.69

Go

Away

4

8

7.69

Away

Escape

6

8

7.69

Escape

Source: Field Work, 2023 (Nvvo Data Analysis Results)

 

Table 15 presents the Word Frequency and Word Count analysis for Research Question 2 (Sub-Question 7), which investigates the nature of sanctions imposed on an officer who makes irregular payments without a satisfactory explanation. The word "Officer" appears most frequently with a count of 23, indicating that the focus is on the individual responsible for the irregular payments. The term "Organization" is mentioned 13 times, suggesting that the nature of the sanction relates to the policies and practices of the organization. The word "Held" (11 mentions) implies that the officer is held accountable for their actions. Additionally, terms like "Question" (9 mentions), "Known" (8 mentions), "ways" (8 mentions), "Likely" (8 mentions), "Go" (8 mentions), "Away" (8 mentions), and "Escape" (8 mentions) suggest that the organization may thoroughly question the officer, consider different possibilities, and ensure that there are no avenues for escaping accountability. These terms provide insights into the nature of sanctions, emphasizing the importance of holding the officer accountable within the organizational context.

 

Table 16: Word Frequency and Word Count for Research Question 2 (Sub-Question 8): Has the Strict enforcement of the financial regulations codified sanctions on breaches directly or immediately resulting in loses to government promotes accountability in your organization?

Word

Length

Count

Weighted Percentage (%)

Similar Words

Strict

6

30

11.11

Strict

Enforcement

11

30

11.11

Enforcement, enforce

Sanctions

9

30

11.11

Sanctions, sanction

Breaches

7

30

11.11

Breaches, breach

Resulting

9

30

11.11

Resulting, result

Loses

5

30

11.11

Loses, lose

Government

10

30

11.11

Government

Promotes

8

30

11.11

Promotes, promote

Accountability

14

30

11.11

Accountability, accountable,

Source: Field Work, 2023 (Nvvo Data Analysis Results)

 

Table 16 provides the Word Frequency and Word Count analysis for Research Question 2 (Sub-Question 8), which examines whether the strict enforcement of financial regulations, including codified sanctions on breaches directly or immediately resulting in losses to the government, promotes accountability in the organization. All the words listed in the table have a count of 30, indicating their equal importance in the context of the research question. These terms include "Strict," "Enforcement," "Sanctions," "Breaches," "Resulting," "Loses," "Government," "Promotes," and "accountability." They highlight the key elements of the research question, emphasizing the significance of strict enforcement, codified sanctions, breaches, losses to the government, and the promotion of accountability within the organization. The repeated mentions of these words suggest that the organization places a strong emphasis on enforcing financial regulations, implementing sanctions for breaches, and ensuring accountability for any losses incurred by the government.

          

 In summary, from the tables above, NIMC, responses to questions 1, 3, 4, 5 and 8 indicate that there is strict compliance to the provisions of the financial regulations which enhances accountability in the study area. This is evidenced by the Nvivo word count and weighted percentages of 27 (18.8%), 23 (16.8%), and 23(6.99%) for research question one. And 25 (16.89%,), 19 (12.83), 19 (12.83), research question 3. For research questions 4 and 5, 21 (18.91%), 21 (9.91%), and 20 (13.15%), 3(13.15%) respectively. There 3are equal responses on the context of research question 8 with 30-word count and 11.11%.  In other words, NIMC staff awareness of financial regulations and their application on enforcement of sanctions is not in doubt. On the other hand, negative responses to question numbers 2, 6 and 7 means that the effects of financial regulations on accountability with respect to these enforcement of sanctions responsibility dimensions are questionable and that measures must be taken by the management of the study area to ensure strict compliance if accountability is to be their watchdog. This is evidenced in the responses to question 2, 6 and 7 with word-count and weighted percentages of (2) 17 (15.38%), 16 (12.59%) & 16 (12.59%), (6) 24 (14.54%), 24 (14.54%), 24 (14.54%) and (7) 23 (22,11%), 13 (14.54%), &11 (10.57%) respectively.         

 Implicitly, NASRDA’s responses on the results disclosed that public servants are well familiar with the provisions of financial regulations as affecting enforcement of sanctions on breaches of financial regulations provisions but do not adhere strictly to these provisions in their daily financial operations. In other words, sanctions on breaches are slightly compromised in the study area. This is evident by the negative responses recorded on question 1,3, and 4 with word cloud count and weighted percentages of 27 (18.88%), 23 (16.08%) & 23 (6.99%) (3) 25 (16.89%), 19 (12.83%) & 19 (12.83%). While question 4 with 21 (18.91%), 11 (9.91%) & 10 (9.01%). Moreover, the positive responses recorded on question 2, 5, 7, and 8 indicates that there is to a greater extent compliance to enforcement of sanctions in the study area, but much needed to be done in order to have greater effect on accountability. This is as contained in the word cloud count and weighted percentages of research question 2, 17 (13.38%), 16 (12.59%) & 16 (12.59%) and 5, with 20 (18.15%), 20 (18.15%) & 20 (18.15%). For research question 7, 23 (22.11%), 13 (12.5%) & 11 (10.57%). Lastly, question 8 has equal responses as to the effect of the variable on accountability with 30 word-count and weighted percentage of 11.11%.

From the foregoing results however, public servants do not claim ignorant of the applicable financial regulations in both NIMC and NASRDA, neither do they have any reservations as to the practical implementations of same. Rather, they see attitudinal and behavioral attitude of top civil/public servants as the major impediment to the application of some provisions of the financial regulations Other factors revealed by the results as hinders the application of financial regulations by MDAs are the non-enforcement of sanctions on breaches of the provisions of the financial regulations, weak internal control mechanism as well as lack of an enhanced internal audit reviews and poor monitoring and evaluation system. These findings are consistent with the initial fears articulated by Anochie and Duru (2015) that the economic hardship ravaging the country today might be directly or indirectly traceable to weak regulations and inadequate enforcement of sanctions on breaches to deter future occurrence. The findings also corroborate with prior studies, such as those of Bob (2006) and Achua (2011) who observe that corruption has become a monster of the Nigerian culture; and it is the single most important cause of waste and inefficiency in public administration that hampers the attainment of public accountability in the public service.

It is important to also note that Enofe, et al. (2013) contend that the aim of internal auditing is to improve organizational efficiency and effectiveness through constructive criticism.  This means that identification of areas of weakness and suggestions for improvement are the main thrust of internal auditing.  Little wonder Sawyer (1995) state that internal auditor’s job is not done until defects are corrected and remain corrected.   

           

How to make internal audit effective has been an area of common interest to many.  This has been responsible for the divergent views of authors on this concept.  To that effect, the Institute of Internal Audit (2010) sees internal audit effectiveness ‘as the degree (including quality) to which established objectives are achieved.  Vijayakumar and Nagaraja (2012) appear to be concerned more with the outcome of effective internal audit system which they argue helps in achieving performance, profitability and prevents loss of revenues particularly in public sectors. This has greatly corroborated to this work.  

 

However, just like this research, a number of scholars agrees that enforcement increases compliance which leads to public accountability. (Gunningham & Kagan, 2005; Imperato, 2005; Sutinen & Kuperan, 1999; Zubcic & Sims, 2011)? According to Zubcic and Sims (2011), enforcement action and improved punishments lead to superior heights of compliance with laws. Corruption within government officials especially in third world countries such as Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka, and Nigeria have been absolutely connected to a weak enforcement of the rule of law, especially in government establishments (Nwabuzor, 2005). A number of research works like (Hufbauer, Schott and Elliott 1983; Pape 1997; Baldwin, 2000; Hovi, Huseby et al. 2005), has centered most on detailed matters, enquiring if discipline or sanctions were effective or not and to some extent analyzing the accidental paraphernalia of sanctions as sighted by Mueller and Mueller 1999; Andreas 2005). 

         

Nevertheless, it is in this regard that absence of Accountability leads to systemic Corruption in the public service. see, for example, Fackler and Lin (1995), Linz and Stepan (1996), Nas et al. (1986), Bailey and Valenzuela (1997), Persson et al. (1997), Rose-Ackerman (1999), Djankov et al. (2001), and Laffont and Meleu (2001). The central argument is that accountability allows for the punishment of administrators that adopt ‘‘bad policies,’’ thus aligning bureaucratic’ preferences with those of their citizens. The degree of accountability in the system is determined, in turn, by the specific features of the political system. This is evident with the way and manner the public service has continued to be characterized by gross impunity in decision making on matters affecting the nation's treasuries (Oguonu, 1997 and Maimako, 2005); official procedures and guidelines are circumvented at will (Udoh, 2006). 

 

1.5 Conclusion and Recommendations

The study has established a consensus opinion that although public servants pay adequate attention to financial regulations in the conduct of government business, there is need to improve on some basic tenets of internal audit and enforcement of sanction on breaches of the financial regulations. It is evident from the empirical findings of the study that some relevant requirements of financial regulations which ought to have been used to strengthen internal audit reviews, improve transparency and accountability, and possibly eliminate fraud and minimize corruption to the barest minimum have been blatantly abused.  One of the major findings of this study is the reluctant attitude of senior public servants to strengthen the enforcement of sanctions mechanism to forestall future breaches of the financial policy document with a view to entrenching accountability in the business of government. Overall, the results suggest negligent of the senior management staff as well as poor attitude to ensure a religious compliance to the provisions of the financial policy document in all ramifications, 

 

1.5 Based on the findings, the following recommendation are made:

i. The study recommends that detailed periodic internal audit reviews timetable must be made available regularly to all staff of the organization and also the heads of units must be officially notified of these spot checks and reviews for them to have ample time for preparations.  

a.  There should also be strict and prompt reportage of all anomalies observed during the internal audit exercise for immediate responses.

b. There must be behavioral and attitudinal changes in the part of the top echelon of the staff in the study area in order to establish a strong mechanism that will strengthen the internal audit mechanism in order to instill discipline and accountability

 

ii    The top leadership of the organization must spell out the consequences for non-observance to these internal audit reviews time table by strengthening the internal controls that will guarantee checks and balance in the audit reviews.

a. stiffer sanctions must be enforced on breaches directly resulting in loses to government to serve as deterrent to erring staff in the organization.

b.All sanctions to be enforced must be strictly based on the provisions of the financial regulations and other financial policy regulations as updated by the Ministry of finance and Accountant General of the Federation

 

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