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ANAN, stakeholders seek professionalism as graft war deepens

Muhammad Akaro Mainoma

The need for accountability and enthroning a regime of transparency, especially in the era of the fight against corruption has called for depth in responsibilities, ethical maturity and professionalism. But these must be inculcated in a systematic and structured discipline in accountancy.

Today, finance and accountancy have become the core focus in the management of public wealth and serve as veritable tools in the reconciliation of set targets and goals achieved, as well as assurance of fiscal compliance. But the human capital must be honed with the requisite and need-based skills to deliver.

Prof. Muhammad Mainoma, who is the President of the Association of National Accountants of Nigeria (ANAN), said the College of Accountancy, Jos, Plateau State, is currently undergoing upgrade to become a full-fledged “ANAN University of Accountancy”.

To him, this is to contribute to the advancement of the various fields of accountancy and research, as well as play meaningful role in public finance management.

“We need to play our role in the implementation of government policy like the National Anti-Corruption Strategy (NACS).

“The five pillars of NACS provide a framework for the Professional Accountancy Organisations (PAOs) roles in prevention of corruption, enforcement and sanctions, public engagement, campaign for ethical reorientation and the recovery of proceeds of corruption.

“We are building institutions towards making ANAN a premium brand of choice in professional accounting practice and to advance the Science of Accountancy globally, with focus on production of accountancy professionals that are profound in knowledge, skilful in practice, and ethical in conduct.

“We are not unmindful of the needs of our members in the workplace and in practice. The Federal Government is formalising the placement of our members in the public service as we reinvigorate our Continuous Professional Education to improve the value relevance of our members, professional values and ethical reorientation,” he said.

But the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Hajia Zainab Ahmed, who appreciated the efforts of the accounting body in contributing to economic policies of the Federal Government, said the roles of professional accountants, especially those with high ethical value, cannot be over-emphasised.

Speaking at the 24th yearly national conference of ANAN, in Abuja, she said that the Federal Government remains committed to managing finance in prudent manner to deliver its promises.

Represented by the Permanent Secretary, Special Duties, Dr. Muhammed Dikwa, she noted that government would strengthen the relevant laws to fight corruption, saying that all hands must be on deck in fighting the menace.

Ahmed said that accountants must join government to bring about the needed synergy to change the mindset of the people to be dedicated to duty, while calling on ANAN to keep on focusing on human capital development, particularly in accountancy.

But Mainoma, in his welcome address, noted that the accounting body has undertaken strategic initiatives towards actualizing the goal of raising reputable accountants, adding: “We have secured a five-storey building ANAN House, as permanent Head office in Abuja to enhance closer collaboration with key stakeholders.

“We have commissioned Education and Training Committee to conduct a maturity assessment to receive feedback from members on 16 Key Success Areas (KSAs) across four broad characteristics: Sustainability, Relevance, Professionalism and Member Value to support ANAN strategic envisioning at 40 years.

“ANAN has improved her advocacy in public policy. The Research Committee would soon release her two technical reports on Nigerian Public Financial Management and Professional Accountancy Skills gap. Capacity is being built on contemporary issues in Accounting.

“We are engaging relevant regulators with a view to strengthening regulatory governance in the financial reporting process. Our close collaboration with the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria and other PAOs is yielding results. We have engaged the legislature in their bid to improve the National Budget process,’’ he said.

In a keynote address, the Executive Chairman, Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Babatunde Fowler, said the mandate of the FIRS was to assess, collect and account for tax collected on behalf of government.

Represented by the Coordinating Director of FIRS, Abiodun Aina, he said that the taxes served as major sources of revenue for the government and had contributed to nation building, as well as sustainable growth and development.

He urged professional accountants to partner with FIRS to drive domestic resource mobilisation toward funding of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the country.

The Chairman of Conferences, Workshops and Publicity Committee, of ANAN, Prof. Adebayo Adejola, said that “a vital instrument of change we need as professionals and for Nigerians to have the desired nation is knowledge.

“In this conference, as in a buffet, the table is set for us all to come and feast from. On this table are varieties of knowledge with the potential to change our mentalities, our thoughts, our attitude, our approaches and our perceptions, which will eventually bring us from obscurity into limelight,” he said.

The Registrar/Chief Executive Officer of ANAN, Dr Nuruddeen Abdullahi, said the conference coincided with the occasion of the 40th year celebration of the association, adding that the conference had remained the largest gathering of Certified National Accountants together with other professionals across the globe.

According to him, it provides an ideal platform for our members to share knowledge, exchange experience and great ideas and strengthen cooperation with fellow professionals, partners and leaders, aimed at nation building and sustainable growth.

Also, the Chairman of the conference, Major-Gen. Gbolahan Oyefesobi, said that the call to build our nation is a call at the right time, noting that to build a nation requires concerted efforts from all Ministries, Departments and Agencies, as well as stakeholders in the country, including accountants.

“Therefore, for any nation to be on the path of growth and sustainability, all the relevant components therein must work effectively. Certainly, the place of institutions and relevant professionals in nation building cannot be over-emphasised’’ he said.

Similarly, ANAN boss recalled that for the past 24 years, members of the association have consistently gathered to discuss the affairs of the nation, hence, the theme of this year’s conference: “Nation Building and Sustainable Growth: Challenges and Prospects’’, which followed last year’s “Economic Recovery and Growth: Issues and Options.”

He said that the easiest way to build the nation and sustain it is through Learning, Entrepreneurship, Goal Convergence, Accountability, Collaboration and Youth Development (LEGACY).

“There seems to be agreement that development that cannot be sustained is not development at all. We must not only be bothered about the present, but the future should be of concern to us and that is the issue of LEGACY.

“We are addressing two fundamental issues: first, to fill the large communication gap in society’s appreciation of sustainability; and second, to develop reasoned and rounded views about the complex world in which we work,” Mainoma said.

According to him, at ANAN, we are committed to building professionals that would make meaningful contribution to society and its sustainability, as a new approach to accountancy professionalism is needed. This would entail among others, being relevant to government and the public.

“Learning is very important when we are talking of nation building. It is critical when we are talking about sustainable development. Nation building is not about competition or copying from other countries; our circumstances are different. We must understand that we cannot just increase Value Added Tax (VAT) rate because our own is the lowest.

“We can increase receipt from VAT by doing other things. If we learn properly, we can adjust the VAT-able goods; we can differentiate the rates and charge higher rates for luxury items,’’ he said.

He said that as the association celebrates 40th anniversary, its council was committed to strengthening ANAN in playing its rightful roles in the realms of national and global agenda, particularly in training world-class accounting professionals who will blaze the trail with high ethical value.

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