By Steve Agbota
As part of measures to curb corruption and waste of public fund, the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) has called on the Federal Government to enforce accountability in public finance, nation building and grow the nation’s economy.
In a Communique on 47th Annual Accountants Conference delivered by 53rd President of the Institute, Mallam Ismaila Muhammadu Zakari, said Nigerians must reawaken their patriotic zeal to place the interest of the nation first above self, rediscover their civic responsibilities as citizens and commit themselves to the ideals of the Constitution of the country.
To maintain transparency in public resources, the president said ICAN Accountability Index was presented and launched, which he described as the first-of-its-kind mechanism for assessing public finance management and public governance practices of Nigerian public sector institutions including the Federal, State and Local Governments.
According to him, the introduction of the ICAN Accountability Index, an accountability and governance performance measurement and rating programme is a welcome development as lack of accountability in governance constitutes a hindrance to development, promotes waste of public resources, short-changes the citizens and is a fertile ground for fostering corruption;
He added: “In implementing the ICAN Accountability Index, there should be more focus on States and Local governments, use of professionals outside government and more attention paid to information that is readily available in the public domain as doing so will be cost effective, more credible and preserve the integrity of the process.”
He therefore hinted that 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.
The ICAN boss said government should vigorously pursue policies that are not only youth-focused, but tailored towards entrepreneurship, because youth entrepreneurship would play a key role in solving the problem of youth unemployment.
He said the accountancy profession must align with the aspirations of young people and consciously attract their best and brightest because in the competencies of young accountants and their vibrancy lies the future of the profession.
Zakari urged accountants to embrace change and radically rethink training and development, strengthen their professional ethical disposition, lead the fight against corruption, increase the attractiveness of the profession, embrace new and emerging technologies and proactively engage with regulators and standard setters in order to meet stakeholders expectations which is gradually gravitating towards demand for real time assurance services, integrated reporting, demand for greater insights and increased recognition of public interest focus.