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ICAN wants greater role for public sector chartered accountants

By Oscarline Onwuemenyi
The Institute of  Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) has called for greater efficiency in the management of public finance and a more proactive role for public accounting officers if the nation must attain its vision of becoming one of the most developed economies in the world by year 2020.

The President of ICAN, Chief (Mrs.) Elizabeth Adegite, who made the call on Wednesday at a one-day public service seminar organized by the Public Finance Management Faculty of the Institute, in Abuja , said the public sector accountant was central to the achievement of the vision.

“In a political economy, whatever its model, the role of a public sector chartered accountant in driving the system is too central. For Nigeria, this role becomes more central without which any meaningful achievement in growth and development should be not expected.

“A public sector chartered accountant is both legally and professionally charged with the management of all incomes from Nigeria ’s input or resources and expenditure on outcome.”

She stressed that for the government to achieve the vision, it needs to ensure a prudent management of financial resources at all tiers of government.

She said fiscal indiscipline by Chief Executive Officers and spending officers by way of extra-budgetary spending are intolerable cases of budget abuse and a breach of the appropriation law.

She added, “It is widely accepted that the key to the door of national prosperity consists basically in institutionalizing a good democratic governance system rooted in sound budget management practices.

“Public governance is nothing but the management of the budget in all its ramifications. The budget represents the vehicle for meeting the people’s aspira-tions and in that respect is not just collecting revenue and spending money. It is a living document that affects people’s lives.”

The ICAN boss lamented what she termed a contra-diction on the huge annual appropriation to the various tiers of government, adding  “In spite of annual budget failures, Nigerians sur-prisingly forget the records and jump at the next new budget with the same hollow promises of the budget maker.

“Those responsible for budget preparation create booby traps into the budget to allow for self-enrichment. This is done deliberately and carelessly by providing inaccurate estimates of revenues and expenditures.”

Therefore, she said an approved budget “is nothing but a study in reckless inflation and padding of figures and even the mecha-nism to check corruption cannot be excluded from such traps.”

The developmental strategy by the Federal Government had, in 2008, unfolded a financial outlay for Vision 2020, which is expected to gulp, at least, N12trn, an average of N1trn to be spent annually for 12 years.

“To achieve this plausible strategy, exchange and cross-fertilization of ideas is required to culminate and crystallize into clear vision on how infrastructural deficien-cy would be improved upon.

“This is would also mean Nigeria producing what it consumes and consuming what it produces.”According to her, the role of the public servant chartered accountant in Vision 2020 suggests that Nigerian accountants need to assess their roles and reposition their offices to be able to respond to the challenges lying ahead towards achieving the dream of becoming one of the 20 largest economies by the year 2020.


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