Local Government Accountability for Service Delivery in Nigeria

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This paper is based upon survey work undertaken jointly with Monica Das Gupta and Varun Gauri (Das Gupta, Gauri, and Khemani, 2004). I thank Joshua Adeniyi, Monica Das Gupta, Varun Gauri, Oritseweyimi Ogbe, Oladimeji Oladepo, Muyiwa Sanda, Agnes Soucat, Adedoyin Soyibo, and the Nigeria country team at the World Bank for useful comments and suggestions during the course of this work. Matias Berthelon and Sina Kevin Nazemi provided excellent research assistance. The findings, interpretations, and conclusions expressed in this paper are entirely those of the author, and do not necessarily represent the views of the World Bank, its Executive Directors, or the countries they represent. 1.

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    • "The " soft budget constraint " phenomenon, i.e. the lack of fiscal discipline, makes public expenditure management and macroeconomic control particularly difficult (Dethier, 2000, p. 4). Overdependence of local governments and health authorities on central transfers undermines accountability and also results in blame-shifting to the upper tiers (Rodden, 2002; Khemani, 2004). "
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    • "Analysis can highlight weaknesses in recordkeeping, oversight and control procedures, or other bottlenecks causing delays and losses. For example, Khemani (2004) studied the problem of non-payment of salaries in 252 health facilities in Nigeria. Linking data from survey respondents and financial records, she found no correlation between non-payment of staff and local government revenues; even when budget allocations were sufficient, staff non-payment was a problem. "
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    • "In qualitative surveys health workers said they missed work or cut short their hours to devote time to other economic activities. Another study in Nigeria showed that the greater the lag in paying salaries the more likely health workers were to engage in pharmaceutical sales and seek other employment in the private sector (Khemani, 2004). Family survival therefore plays a role in absenteeism and low productivity. "
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