Governors of Ogun and Gombe States, Mr. Ibikunle Amosu and Ibrahim Dankwambo, have tasked professional accountants, particularly members of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) to lead the country out of recession.
The governors, who are chartered accountants, spoke in Abuja at the 46th yearly conference of the institute. About 3, 800 of its members participated in the conference, out of its membership base of about 40,000.
Amosu said the role of accountants in the society was crucial in taking the country out of recession, by ensuring that there was accountability in performance delivery.
He said: “This is the time that accountants are needed. If we have to get out of recession, we must play our roles very well. We can’t afford to let the nation down. Where we have found ourselves today, accountants would play a key role in getting us out.”
On his part, Dankwambo said the theme of the conference was timely because of the economic condition in the country, which was brought about by the declining oil prices and value of the naira.
He urged ICAN members, as well as other professional accounting bodies to take the issue of accountability and probity seriously by mainstreaming the principles in their daily routines.
This, he said, would ensure that there was value for money and performance delivery, which are key to the nation’s quick recovery from recession.
Dankwambo promised that he would collaborate with the Ogun State governor to sponsor the publication of the conference’s communiqué to make available the information to other professionals who could not attend the event.
The ICAN President, Titus Soetan, explained that the conference’s theme was a campaign sponsored by the world accountancy body, the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) to create higher standards of public sector information around the world.
He added that the institute’s goal is to support governments in making better decisions, becoming more transparent and accountable in providing the vehicle for change.
He tasked government to recognise the importance of working towards a financial reporting that meets international standards.
According to him, the theme was also in alignment with the IFAC’s global campaign, which could not have been more apt than now, given the exposition of various financial improprieties of alarming magnitude in the public sector of the economy.
He added that the need for transparency and accountability in national lives and corporate activities has become even more compelling.
He expressed the hope that participants would come up with ideas to help in raising the bar of accountability in the country’s public and private sectors.
Soetan said: “Accountability, being one of the cornerstones of good governance, places on the government, its agencies and officials, an obligation to provide information about their decisions to ensure that government’s initiatives meet their stated objectives.
“Accountability is an obligation to be answerable for actions taken at all times to members of the public which are justified at the level of moral and ethical standards. It is indeed, a fundamental requirement for proper management of resources for development, increased efficiency and effectiveness of government performance in any nation.”
According to him, the lack of accountability and transparency in government has created wide distortions in income distribution throughout the society, thus militating against national development.
He added : “The perception of failure of leadership and the huge deficit in the delivery of public goods to Nigerians have culminated in a certain loss of faith in the country. Hence, there is no better time than now to discuss ‘accountability.
“We cannot continue to passively look in the face of public knowledge about funds that should have been used to provide security of lives and property being diverted and the national treasuries being looted.’
Soetan said chartered accountants, as the conscience of the nation must strive to create sanity such that a virtuous society would emerge.