The study examines the impact of legislature oversight function on budget implementation process in Edo state Nigeria. It focuses on the extent of monitoring project execution, quality of state project, assessing the competence of project executors and necessary problems they may hinder the legislature in performing their legislative duty in order to enhance budget implementation process. Data for the study were sourced from general public through the use of questionnaire. A total of 160 respondents were randomly sampled in the three (3) senatorial zones of the state i.e. Edo South, Edo Central and Edo North respectively. Data collected were analyzed using descriptive statistics such as frequency distribution, mean and standard deviation as well as chi-square goodness of fit test. The result from the socio-economic characteristics reveals that the research was gender balance having 50/50 for both male and female, majority of the respondents were Christian (81.3%), they were literate (88.4%) having obtained minimum of B.Sc. in the state and were experienced in their field. The result obtained from the analysis shows that frequent discussion of projects by House of Legislature (mean=3.92), sanctioning of contractors for failure in project execution (mean=3.56) and summoning of contractors to provide a brief on their project execution by the house of legislative (mean=3.48) were considered to have positive effect on budget implementation. Checking on completed projects (mean = 3.98), sanctioning project executors for poor quality project work (mean =3.55), verification of the quality of materials used by contractor for project execution (mean =3.46) and ascertaining whether project executors followed what was specified in the project document (mean= 3.29) by the house of legislature enhance the budget implementation process. It also agreed that the house of legislature should liaising with independent professionals to verify projects being executed by contractors (mean = 3.78), verifying past projects (mean=3.74), verifying their qualification (mean = 3.64) has positively enhance the budget implementation process. On the hypotheses Chi-square result revealed that all the three hypotheses were significant, therefore, rejecting the null hypothesis and accept the alternate ones. The thereby recommend that the legislature should ensure that they check the qualification of contractors, to know whether they are capable before awarding project to them and have meeting and monitor their work in order to enhance budget implementation processes.
1.1 Background to the Study
Effective legislature is fundamental to promoting good governance and is a critical component in a country’s overall governance framework. Although differences exist across government systems, legislatures, through their constitutional mandates, fulfill three core functions: representation, lawmaking, and oversight functions. Governance goals of greater accountability, transparency, and participation are directly related to these three functions. Legislative oversight in particular seeks to ensure that the Executive and its agencies, or those to whom authority is delegated, remain responsive and accountable (Rick, Riccardo, David and Lisa, 2008).
The Constitution specify the role of the Legislature and its relationship with the Executive while constitution or budget system laws elaborate on the budgetary roles and powers of the Legislature. Legal constraints and budgetary practices vary greatly all over the countries (Lienert, 2005; Stapenhurst, Riccardo, David, and Lisan (2008); and Wehner, 2006). Moreover, the role of the legislature is changing (Posner and Park, 2007), with parliaments playing a more active role in budget matters, especially in developing countries. For promoting good governance and fiscal transparency, the legislature’s active engagement in the budget process is essential. When fiscal policies and medium-term budgetary objectives are debated in parliament, budget strategies and policies are “owned” more widely. However, more active participation by the legislature runs the risk that fiscal discipline deteriorates. This is because the “common pool” problem, observed at the budget preparation stage within the government, may be large at the parliamentary approval stage. In particular, in countries where the legislature has unrestrained budget amendment authority, parliament is prone to introduce changes that increase spending or reduce taxes. The state budget is an official statement governments makes about how much it expects to earn, spend and what taxes are necessary for the next year. It is essentially for development (Azelama, 2015). Implementation process therefore refers to the procedure by which government create and approve a budget.
Although, a broad based coalition of actors, especially comprising the executive, legislature and the judiciary is needed if any progress will be made in curbing corruption (Leautier, 2006), the role of the legislature particularly appears all encompassing and very important (Wolffowitz, 2006). For one, the legislature as the accredited representatives of the people has the duty of protecting public funds and other resources. As the controller of the purse, it has the additional duty of serving as the guardian of the public treasury. Moreover, appropriation of funds for public expenditures requires the legislature to monitor the use of such funds to ensure its judicious utilization for the overall benefit of the people.
Budget process in Nigeria involves the budget planning, enactment, implementation and monitoring. This process revolves round the Executive and the Legislative arm in the democratic system (Wolffowitz, 2006). Amongst factors responsible for the non-actualization of the legislative arm of government potentials in law making; oversight and constituency relations since the return of democratic rule are capacity gap at all levels of the government; lack of accountability and transparency and late submission of budget proposals by the executive to the national assembly. This could be traced to the prolonged years of military rule when the legislative arm of government was non- existent (Onuoha, 2009). In a bid to enhance the capacity of the legislators since 1990, efforts were made to ensure significant numbers of legislators are returned to the house with attendant legislative experience. This has however not achieved desired result and the gaps recurrent with low competency level in the budget process with each new session.
To strengthen and shorten the budgetary cycle, the legislative budget office of National Assembly should be made more proactive and responsive; legislators should no longer camouflage under oversight functions to engage in corrupt practices. The roles of both the executive and legislatures on the so-called constituency projects should be clarified if necessary by the judiciary as this friction bridles corrupt tendencies. It is important to continuously build the capacity of the legislature in good budgeting, budget process/system, budget analysis and budget monitoring, tracking and evaluation. The establishment of a Legislative Budget Office is a positive development in this regard (Aguda, 2012).
1.2 Statement of the Problem
The poor execution of projects at the state level has been blamed on the use of substandard materials, over inflation of prices of material during the budget implementation and the use of unqualified contractors in executing projects (Lienert, 2005). Lack of financial autonomy of lawmaker also places doubt on the effective oversight function on budget implementation (Onuoha, 2009). Thus, lack of development in some parts of Edo further calls to question the effectiveness of the state law makers. Thus the researcher intends to provide answers to the following questions:
- How is monitoring of state projects execution by the Legislative house improved the budget implementation process in the study area?
- How the monitoring of the quality of state project can is improved the budget implementation process in the study area?
- Does the monitoring of the competence of Legislative house improve the budget implementation process in the study area?
1.3 Justification of the study
The study highlights the public perception of the extent of performance of the responsibilities of the state legislative (House of Assembly). The elicited information will be very useful to the legislative body as it will provide an external assessment of their job performance. This will help to show case grey areas they may need to improve upon, amend, or even clarify misconceptions.
The study also shows the factors that will enhance the legislative oversight of the budget implementation process in the state. It is pertinent to note it will be useful to all stakeholders such as the state executive and NGOs, as to checkmate their activities towards the legislative procedure of government that will foster their impact on budget monitoring.
It will identify constraints limiting the effective oversight of the budget monitoring by the legislature. Essentially, it will culminate into recommendations that will enhance the performance of the legislature in executing their constitutional responsibilities in budget monitoring. This research study will be useful to researchers and other bodies that may be interested in conducting similar research.
Budget implementation in democratic countries forms part of the oversight function of the Legislative arm of government with a healthy co-operation and collaboration of other arms of government, Executive and Judiciary respectively. The essence of this arrangement is to promote socio-economic development and ensure citizen welfare. The role or the legislature in this aspect is critical. According to Onuoha, 2009, the legislature is primary responsible for checkmating the activities of the executive and ensuring that they follow through on budget promised and plans. Many have asserted that the government is under-performing. Reasons for this include corruption, insincerity, incompetence, embezzlement (Akomolede and Bosede, (2012).
1.4 Objectives of Study
The overall aim of the study is to assess the impact of the legislative oversight on the budget implementation process in Edo state. The specific objectives are to:
- determine the extent of monitoring project execution by the Legislative in the study area.
- examine if the monitoring of the quality of state project by the Legislative house has enhances budgeting process.
- assess if monitoring of the competence of project executors by the Legislative house enhances the budget
1.5 Hypotheses of the study
Ho1: Monitoring of project execution by the Legislative house has no significant effect on the budget implementation in the state.
Ho2: Monitoring of the quality of state projects by the Legislative house has no significant effect on the budget implementation process in the state.
Ho3: Monitoring of the competence of project executors (i.e. contractors) in the state by the Legislative house has no significant effect on the budget implement process.
1.6 Significance of the study
Given the critical role that legislators play in ensuring efficiency, effectiveness and monitoring of budget implementation. It is important to understand what project monitoring and its execution means and what makes oversight function effective because dissatisfies legislative may likely give poor quality and less efficient performance. According to Tzeng, (2002), there is evidence of positive correlation between oversight function and budget implementation. From the research, some studies have address Legislative and Budgeting Oversight in other areas but limited work have been conducted on legislative oversight function and budget implementation in Edo state. This is where the study attempts to address the gap in the literature. The information obtained will hopefully assist in identifying factors affecting the legislative oversight function in term of project monitoring and their impacts on budget implementation process
1.7 Scope and Limitation of the Study
1.8 Definition of Terms
The study covers politicians and careers, and servants of focuses primarily on lawmakers in Edo State, key APC officers in the state, commissioners /advisers and top bureaucrats. (Permanent secretaries and directors) in all the ministries of Edo state.
Appropriation: A process by which a legislative act authorizing the expenditure of a designated amount of public funds for a specific purpose.
Budget: An estimate of costs, revenues; and resources at a specific period, reflecting a reading of future financial conditions and goals.
Constitution: This is a set of fundamental principles or established precedents according to which a state is governed.
Oversight: Steps taken by the relevant committee of the house of Assembly in ensuring that monies appropriated are utilized for purpose it was allocated.
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