Renewed agitation for whistle-blowing, currency stability
THE need to enthrone a regime of disclosure, ensure transparency and integrity in public finance, accountants and financial experts said time is fast running out in taking a concrete step towards whistle-blowing initiative. This is not the first time such calls have been made, but the adjunct this time is proposal for the establishment of a fund to that purpose.
Leading the agitation is the Accountant -General of the Federation, Alhaji Ahmed Idris, who tasked the Association of National Accountants of Nigeria (ANAN) mobilise its professionals towards the actualisation of the proposal.
Idris, in a paper titled: “The Role of Accountants in Sustaining Value in the Public Sector”, at the 20th yearly conference of ANAN, in Abuja, said the fund would also encourage good corporate governance.
He said accountants should not succumb to greed and material aggrandizement or nay form of conflict of interest that manifest in corrupt practices.
According to him, all these would erode the value the profession stand to create, “instead, let us contribute in our own little way professionally for good service to the nation for public good.”
He said: “We must imbibe good ethical conduct and openness in our dealings in public interest. We have to shun any selfish interest in our daily service to the nation.
“This is the way we can continue to create value,’’ Idris said.
He urged the association to assist the young accountants to attend the mandatory continuing professional development (MCPD) at reduced rates,” he said.
Urging the association to help members to resist the pressure to compromise, he canvassed continuous improvement of facilities by ANAN to enrich the quality of materials and uplift the competence of members.
But Prof. Nkemdili Nnonyelu of Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, in his presentation, “Creating Value Through Governance: Implementing a New Accountability Framework,” said, “if good governance is to exemplify public life in Nigeria, we must tame corruption and make public officers become accountable.”
Nnonyelu advocated a general ethical and value re-orientation; unifying and strengthening the anti-corruption agency; and compelling all Nigerians to declare their assets publicly.
The don suggested that there should be incentives for accountability in public life, while also simultaneously enforcing severe sanctions for defaulters.
He urged the Federal Government to compel all ministries, departments and agencies to be transparent by publishing their revenues, source, collection and receipts.
“With Buhari’s pedigree and reputation, with the president’s publicity and nationally acclaimed zero tolerance for graft, the necessary political leadership that will kick-start the series of processes required to improve the lot of this country have been laid,’’ he said.
In another paper on “Creation Through Financial Reporting: The Construction Industry Perspective,” the Financial Director, Julius Berger Nigeria Plc, Wolfgang Kollermann, said effective financial report would provide a more complete picture of value.
“How it is shaped by current and future events and explains what management is doing to create and preserve it.
Financial reporting with a view on value creation should bring together material information about an organisation’s strategy, governance, performance and prospects in a way that reflects the true and fair view of any business and its growing status.
“With focus on effective financial reporting, the construction industry requires an industry tailored reporting standards that is different from other industries as a result of its unique characteristics. These include, amongst others, the largely long term nature of contract implementation,’’ Kollermann said.
In a paper titled “From Shareholders to Stakeholder Perspective: Adding Value to Business Organisations,’’ Dr Suleyman Ndanusa said it was no longer sufficient to ctraft business strategy with the prime focus on shareholders’ interests.
Ndanusa noted that many organisations increasingly saw their long-term success closely tied to their interactions with their stakeholders as opposed to one that paced shareholder’s value first.
“It is common knowledge today that companies that treat shareholders; relationship valuable asset will transform value creation.
“Stakeholders relationship is no longer treated as ‘nice to have’ but rather as a valuable asset and key capability for accompanies that want to transform value creation in their industry,’’ he said.
In another paper titled “Governance and Sustainability Reporting: Ethical Code and Best Practices’’, Dr. L.C Obara, Head, Department of Accountancy, Rivers State University of Science and Technology, Port Harcourt, described Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) as the continuing commitment by business to contribute to economic development, while improving the quality of the workforce and their families.
Obara said: “Corporate governance also provides the structure through which the objectives of the company are set and the means of attaining those objectives and monitoring performance are determined.”
According to him, corporate governance is the need to create a corporate culture of transparency, accountability and disclosure.
“It refers to compliance with all moral and ethical values, legal framework and voluntarily-adopted practices,’’ Obara said. Meanwhile, Nzom has advised the Federal Government not to further devalue the naira by bowing to pressure from anywhere.
Nzom, who said this after what was termed “ANAN Walk Against Corruption for a Healthier Economy and Longevity’’, by more than 2,000 members of the association, lashed out at ongoing arguments and counter -arguments on the fate of the naira.
“We have to be careful about further devaluation of the naira and be careful when people outside the country are encouraging us to do certain things. In whose interest is the further devaluation of the naira? ’’ he asked.
He recalled that in the 1990s the naira was exchanging at N80 to a dollar, saying that today, the naira had been badly devalued and suggested that to fight corruption, no Nigerian should have a foreign account and undergraduate studies abroad.
The accountant said that those giving excuses over the Treasury Single Account do not want to embrace change, adding that gnereally “change is the only thing people do not accept. People want to see if government will soft-pedal. These are people with hidden accounts here and there.”