THE EFFECT OF PUBLIC SECTOR REFORMS ON PUBLIC SECTOR BUDGETING AND ACCOUNTING SYSTEMS IN NIGERIA.
The study examined the compatibility of the public sector reforms and the accounting systems in the Nigerian public sector. In particular, the Fiscal Responsibility Act 2007, being a major framework for carrying out the public sector reforms in Nigeria, is examined in order to determine in what ways, if any, the provisions therein would require a reform in public sector budgeting and accounting systems to enhance transparency, accountability and economic development in Nigeria. The study employed the descriptive and ex-post facto research designs. The descriptive research design employed the cross-sectional method which consisted of surveys and field studies in the analyses of the primary data. The primary data and secondary data were subjected to statistical analyses using the paired-wise t-test, correlation analyses, simple regression analyses, and sample t-test statistical models. The findings revealed that the present cash-based accounting and budgeting systems have not supported the achievement of economic and development targets as major objectives of the Public Sector Reform and the Fiscal Responsibility Act (FRA). Also, it discovered that the present cash accounting and budgeting systems do not ensure accountability and efficiency in the public sector and that the current cash accounting and budgeting systems are not congenial to GDP growth as one of the aims of the Public Sector Reforms. This research also established that there is significant relationship between the attainability of fiscal policies and financial reporting systems and that there is need for a reform of the public sector accounting and budgeting systems to be able to achieve the objectives of the Nigeria Public Sector Reforms as provided for in the Fiscal Responsibility Act. A model was developed by the researcher as a guide for economic and fiscal planning, and to reflect the relationship which has been established by the findings of this research. The practical and theoretical implications of the moderl developed in this work is that a desired economic index can be used to derive and prepare budget estimates much the same way that economic variables can be used to predict economic indicators. Based on the findings of this study, it is recommended that the Public Sector Reform in Nigeria should be backed up with a reform of the public sector accounting and budgeting systems to be able to achieve the reform objectives. Having done this much, further work should be carried out to determine the best way to implement accrual accounting to achieve fiscal transparency, accountability, efficiency, and economic growth in Nigeria, given the level of development in general and IT in particular.