By Providence Obuh
The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria, ICAN, said it has submitted a 13 point agenda to relevant government agencies to salvage the economy.
Presenting the communique reached at the end of the 46th Annual Accountants’ Conference of ICAN in Lagos, the president, Deacon Titus Soetan, said that it is part of the institute’s role as a responsible professional body to review and discuss some policies of government to assist implementation and ensure that their benefits are maximised.
The recommendations in the communique said that in view of the volatility in the global oil and commodity markets, the government should resuscitate the culture of saving for the rainy day, a 0.5 percent of the gross income from oil operations to help insulate the local economy from the dynamics of globalisation.
Soetan, who reeled out the recommendations, added that there is need for government to set the pace for accountability by periodically and regularly publishing the level of achievement of the goals it set for itself as it is done in the private sector.
He added that public sector leaders must engage the citizenry from time to time, imbibe the culture of stewardship reporting and be prepared to be held accountable.
He said that the efforts being made to diversify the nation’s economy and the recent discovery of huge quantity of high quality Nickel in Kaduna are commendable and encouraging, adding that while basking in the euphoria associated with the Nickel discovery, the government should ensure that this and other minerals are processed with value added before they are exported.
“This is to ensure that the nation derives maximum benefits from its natural endowments,” he said.
The institute in the communique further stated that in order to strengthen the government’s resolve to embrace the ideals of accountability, transparency and best practices in public sector financial reporting, government at all levels should partner with relevant professional and technical Institutes to build institutional capacity that would ensure the success of the initiative and that as part of the initiatives to promote accountability in the public sector and hold its functionaries to account, the government should create a Whistleblowers Protection Fund that will encourage and protect whistleblowers.
Soetan said, “Except people feel safe and protected, they would be unwilling to raise alarm over improprieties that may come to their attention. Although there is great concern about the growing trend towards public sector borrowing and the desire by the government to discard the cash call model of financing oil exploration, it is hoped that such borrowing by the Joint Venture partners would be optimally done and committed to the purpose for which the loans were taken. The government should ensure that other borrowings are judiciously committed to finance infrastructural projects.”
He maintained that all tiers of government should strengthen their institutions, implement sound internal controls to prevent fraud, waste and abuse.