Accountants move to stem endemic corruption in Nigeria
• Enlist 600 students in S ‘West
As part of efforts to tackle corruption through financial literacy, the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), the global body of professional accountants has enlisted over 600 accounting students drawn from across some Polytechnics in the South West. The project is aimed at supporting President MuhammaduBuhari’s anti-corruption crusade.
The move is also aimed at preparing the students for future needs of Nigeria currently in short supply of qualified accounting professionals.Addressing journalists in Ibadan, the Country Head, ACCA in Nigeria, in charge of Business Development, Student Growth and Advancement, Mrs Oluwatoyin Ademola, said the crusade, which attracted students from across tertiary institutions in the state for free financial management training, would move to other parts of the country in due course.She added that the university students are also being involved to safeguard the nation’s future from further ruins.
She said: “We did a lot of anti-corruption crusade before President Buhari came on board, and we have partnered the government on that. For us, we think corruption is not about the government but the individual in the government that are corrupt. Nigeria is not corrupt but it is the people that are corrupt. We think it is about ethics, it s about putting people who are educated in position of authority.
“There is a difference between been educated and going to school. Going to school means you are going to school and reading and been educated means you can apply the knowledge you have acquire. One of the reasons why there is so much corruption in Nigeria is because we do not understand financial management.
“People do not understand that they do not need to embezzle N10 billion before they can become rich and it is because of lack of understanding that people are embezzling anyhow. So many people lack financial awareness and understanding in this country.
This is why were are supporting the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), in its financial literacy campaign because we believe that financial illiteracy is what is leading to corruption.
which is what leads to embezzlement.
“Most people do not know that the money they earn can bring in profit to them. If you look at those who have stolen in the past you will see that they are now broke today. We want to work with government through CBN to bring strategic solution to corruption. We shall put some steps in place and reap the reward later.”
On the choice of polytechnic students for the training, Ademola explained: “there is currently a bias against graduates of Polytechnic, when you look at employment opportunities, you will discover that most universities graduates get employed over their polytechnic counterparts, but interestingly people with readymade job skills are graduates of Polytechnic.
“In ACCA, we think it is unfair on them and that is why we are here to train them. At ACCA, one of our values is opportunity and accessibility, so we want the Polytechnic graduates to know that there are some people out here that still value them, that is why we are preparing them on how to get valuable jobs. Polytechnic graduates also have an added advantage because they go on a year industrial attachment. It’s only in Nigeria that we differentiate between polytechnic and university graduates, but across the world, once you are a graduate, you are a graduate. I think it is about time that polytechnic students started marketing themselves in the job market.”
While shedding more light on the training programme, Ademola said: “First, we talk about their employability; how they can get job easily, and how to write presentable Curriculum Vitae. This is the first seminar ACCA is doing for polytechnic students, and we have 600 students from across 10 polytechnic in Southwest.
“It is free and it is our own Corporate Social Responsibility. We are going to do it in the South East, and North soon. There were no criteria for choosing the participating students, we only spoke to the institution and they gave us the students. We did not charge them anything and we will take care of their transport. We shall also get feedback from this training through the survey form we gave to the student.”
She also lamented the dearth of accountants in Nigeria, saying presently, there are only 45,000 across the nation. “Nigeria lacks the necessary professional accountants, and that is why a professional body said we needed 100,000 professional accountants. But I disagree with them, if you think about the fact that we have 17 million organisations in Nigeria, and out of that almost 14 or 15 million are Small and Medium Scales Enterprises. We need more than 100,000 professional accountants, right now, we have about 45,000 and I do not know how we will be able to meet up to that,” she added.