ICAN to enhance accountability in public sector finance, says Zakari

ICAN President, Ismaila Zakari,

The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) has disclosed a plan to work with multinational companies to boost public sector financing,

This was contained in a communiqué issued at the end of the institutes’ 47th yearly accountants’ conference in Abuja.

The ICAN President, Ismaila Zakari, said in implementing the index, there would be more focus on measuring the quality of public sector accountability with regards to budget performance in states and local governments on a yearly basis.

He said the measure becomes necessary to deepen compliance with its newly introduced accountability index-rating programme across all levels of government.

Accountability Index is a government performance measurement in public financing aimed at checkmating the lack of transparency in accounting process.

He said the issue constitutes a hindrance to development, wastes public resources, create an atmosphere which short-changes the citizens, as well a fertile ground for corruption.

He said: “There would be a ranking of states and local governments on their levels of budget performance. The programme is aimed at ensuring that government plays its roles effectively in the auditing of their accounts and giving good governance to the people.

“Accountants must embrace change and radically rethink training and development, lead the fight against corruption and proactively engage with regulators and standard setters in order to meet stakeholders’ expectations.”

He said the profession is gradually gravitating towards demand for real time assurance services, integrated reporting, demand for greater insights and increased recognition of public interest focus.

“The accountancy profession must align with the aspirations of young people and consciously attract their best and brightest. This is due to the competencies of young accountants and their vibrancy, which lies in the future of the profession.

“Government should urgently review the curricula of tertiary institutions in Nigeria to ensure that they produce graduates with the requisite skills and competencies required by employers of labour,” he said.

The institute urged government to put in place policies that would channel the focus of farmers to the untapped areas in the agricultural sector.

This, it said, would accelerate the attainment of food sufficiency, improve the food value chain, improve foreign earnings and reduce unemployment.

It also tasked the government on vigorous pursuance of policies that are not only youth-focused, but also tailored towards entrepreneurship.

The conference noted that the misconceptions surrounding Islamic finance, such as hidden religious agenda are unfounded and advised accountants to pursue the Islamic Finance Service Sector (IFSS) certifications, to tap into the huge potentials in that area and seize its inherent business opportunities.

He urged ICAN members to ensure that they are steadfast in safeguarding the country’s’ assets in the face of the worsening state of cybercrimes across the globe.

Zakari commended government for moving the country from 165th position to 145ft in the global ranking on the ease of doing business.

But, it advised that necessary steps must be taken to ensure that Nigeria do not slide backward.

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