ICAN to launch assessment index in public sector
Days of laxity and non-dedication to duty in the nation’s public sector may soon be over, as the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN), on Friday, unveiled plans to introduce an accountability performance assessment index for the sector.
Already, the Institute is putting appropriate mechanism in place to ensure that the first result of the accountability index is released by September, this year.
The ICAN assessment index is expected to improve the process for assessing public finance management, and public governance practices across the three tiers of the Nigerian public sector including the federal, state and local governments.
The ICAN President, Razak Jaiyeola, explained the initiative would spur high level of accountability and instil good governance structure/practice into the system.
Jaiyeola, who spoke at the 2018 Audit Committee Conference held in Lagos, said: “There are a number of initiatives that ICAN is trying to introduce, the first one has to do with accountability index, which is a system of assessment of performance of the public sector.
“Some of the specific objectives of the index are to encourage greater accountability and transparency in fiscal and public financial management practices in Nigeria. Improve quality of governance and compliance with Fiscal Responsibility Act 2007. Tackle corruption by engaging quality professionals in public sector.
“The financial performance management index would compare a number of indicators such as how they are building, how they are performing in various dimensions and so on.
“With that, organisations are expected to sit up because we will be comparing one state to the other and along the line we will be ranking the ministries and agencies, local government will also be brought in.”
Speaking on the theme: “Cultivating the Conscience of Stewards and Gatekeepers, Key to Responsible Governance and control,” the ICAN boss argued that good governance and control would be a mirage in the country if accountants and auditors fail to discharge their duties with high sense of responsibility, accountability and professionalism.
“In fact, it is an anomaly for any system to have corrupt auditors; this will perhaps be the worst form of corruption anywhere. History has been generous enough to educate us on the enormity of atrocities such a phenomenon can cause an organisation or a country. Even the ‘too big to fail’ have succumbed to this singular act. ”According to him, the accounting profession is arguably the profession that requires the highest level of adherence to high ethical conduct among its practitioners.
“This is not only because our activities transcend tribes, creed, religion and colour, but they go deep into the heart of the workings of an economy.”
He added that when a country’s accounting system is characterised by integrity and professionalism, other sectors would be well positioned to discharge their duties appropriately, thereby aiding growth and development in the economy.
He implored members in audit departments of various organisations to adhere religiously to the professional code of conduct and create more wealth for the nation.
The Chairman, Audit Committee Institute, Nigeria, Christian Ekeigwe, said audit committees, when properly run, are important gatekeepers in governance whose work contribute to investor protection and by extension, protection of the society.
“Audit committees should be faithful to society, to owners of capital and their interests, self-restrained and uninfluenced by the din of selfishness and acquisitiveness in modern society.
“The judgment and decisions they make are important in this regard. It is, therefore, equally important that their judgment and decision making be competent and trustworthy.”