Committee System and Legislative Effectiveness of the Nigeria National Assembly: A Study of the Public Accounts Committee of the 7th Senate, (2011-2015)

Dauda, Pindar (2021-06)


The Legislature is one of the key arms of Government that is saddled with the responsibility of making law and ensuring good governance. One of the strategies the Legislature adopts to achieve its objective is the committee system which plays a vital role in enhancing legislative effectiveness. The need to periodically review the effectiveness of the committee system in the overall legislative process informed this study using the Public Accounts Committee of the 7th Senate spinning the period 2011-2015 as a case study. This study examined the Role of 7th Senate Public Account Committee in ensuring Legislative Effectiveness during the period under review. It also identified challenges that the Committee faced and proffered recommendations that will enhance the effectiveness of the 7th SPAC. The study adopted survey techniques using descriptive qualitative and quantitative research design. Primary data was used to determine the challenges faced by 7th SPAC, through the administration of 8-item questionnaires, also 5-item question was used during the interview session. Secondary data were also used to assess the performance of the 7th SPAC of the National Assembly, through the use of the Committee’s Sessional Reports and Auditor-General’s Annual Reports. The study revealed that the Committee performed relatively well in some of the variables used to appraise its effectiveness, among which were its performance with respect to: Non-submission of Audited Accounts; Revenue Generation and Statutory Remittances, queries on Special Accounts; Conferences and Workshop; Meetings and Public Hearings and also Bill sponsorship. The committee was found wanting in its performance with respect to Implementation Strategy, Project Monitoring; and attending to general Queries. The study also revealed that there were still pending queries of 2009 to 2015 that had not fully been attended to by the 7th SPAC, even though Auditor-General’s Report was submitted to the Senate Plenary and referred to SPAC. This goes to suggest that a lot of improvement is needed in the performance of SPAC to ensure effectiveness in the overall legislative process. With respect to objective two, the study also identified some Challenges that could affects the performance of SPAC among which were: Delay in Submission of Auditor-General’s Report to SPAC; Delay in Response of MDAs to Audit Queries; Inadequacy of Legal Framework; Volumes of work/ Inherited backlog of queries from preceding SPAC; Inadequate follow up by SPAC to the MDAs on Implementation; poor Record Keeping; and Inadequacy of ICT facilities to carry out tasks effectively. This study concluded that SPAC performed credibly well in some of their legislative functions, while on the other hand SPAC had some lapses in terms of number of queries treated as well as other implementation strategies. Recommendations were also made to enhance the legislative activities of the Committee which include: the need for annual action plan to enable tracking and measuring of performance, expanding the membership of SPAC to enable it address the numerous tasks before it, including clearing of the inherited backlog of work, effective punitive measures against erred MDAs and continuous capacity building of members and staff of the committee.