Performance of Oversight Functions by the Public Accounts Committees of the National Assembly: An Assessment of the 8th House of Representatives

Osham, Gladys Sydney (2021-06)


Legislative oversight as one of the core functions of the National Assembly is programmed to check waste, inefficiency, ineffectiveness, corruption and mismanagement of public resources in governance, thus, necessitating this study on assessment of performance in regard to the oversight functions of the Public Accounts Committee of the 8th House of Representatives. The study specifically examined the performance of oversight function of Public Accounts Committee, the extent to which the Committee carries out its functions, identification of the challenges of the Committee in the discharge of its functions and recommended ways that would improve the Committee in the performance of its oversight functions. The study adopted the mixed research design relying on numerical (quantitative) as well as textual (qualitative) data. Data was collected from secondary sources such as 8th House of Representatives Public Accounts Committee sessional reports, official publications of the National Assembly, journal articles, magazines, books, the internet, etc. Content analysis was used for the analysis of qualitative data, which were presented thematically for easy comprehension, while quantitative data were analyzed and presented in simple percentages, graphs, and tables. Findings showed that the Public Accounts Committee carried out its activities through meetings, interactive/investigative hearing sessions and public hearings. The study also found that factors such as lack of capcity building for Members and Staff of the Committee, backlog of work on Auditor-General reports, delay in submission of audit reports, poor response by Ministires, Departments and Agenices (MDA’s) to invitations in order to provide detailed information on their queries, among others, militated against the performance of the Committee. To improve the perform ance of the Public Accounts Committee, the study made recommendations to include among others: training for support staff who represent diversity of knowledge and skill, deepening of inter-committee cooperation, intensification of public englightment on Public Accounts Committee activities, clearing of backlog of queries, ensuring effective follow-up to ensure implementation of audit recommendations and working to ensure assent to the Federal Audit Service Commission Bill 2018 by the President. The study concludes that there is need to use the instrumentality of Public Accounts Committees to boost waning public confidence in governance, especially where recommendations contained in this study are effectively implemented.