The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) has been called upon to support the anti-corruption fight of the Federal Government by creating systems that promote transparency and make it difficult for diversion of resources.
The Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma, who made the call in Abuja on Tuesday when the executive of the Institute visited him, said the fight against corruption must be a collective one, and professional bodies like ICAN have a critical role to play if the fight is to be successful.
He explained that corruption has been the bane of development in the country which is why the Buhari Administration is focused on tackling it so as to save resources for human and infrastructure development.
To build a strong and prosperous nation, the Minister said we have to work together with strong resolve and never give up notwithstanding any frustration.
He said the present government has a philosophy of continuing with good projects no matter which administration conceived or started it; adding that government also has a responsibility in the process to protect investors by taking their interest into consideration even when reviewing policies and actions taken by previous administrations.
The government, he said, does not believe in jettisoning projects because it was initiated by a previous government, rather it builds on the good ones and reviews others in line with the policy direction of the administration. “We have to build on what is good, and tweak what is not so good until we arrive at what is desirable. You do not make investors suffer simply because a new government is in place, by abandoning or cancelling projects”, he added.
Reacting to the concerns raised about delays in passing national budgets, the Minister said initial efforts by the executive to return annual budgets to the regular January to December cycle met with some challenges, but he said whilst it is unlikely to be achieved this year because of electioneering distractions, Government is still determined to push ahead with the process in subsequent years.
The ICAN President, Alhaji Razak Jaiyeola, noted the strides recorded by the Ministry despite the challenges and resource constraints it is facing; and said the Institute is encouraged by the significant success recorded with the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) which the government initiated to rejig the nation’s development process. “Indeed the record of achievements of the Plan confirms that the country is truly on the path of sustainable and inclusive growth”, he added.
While expressing concern over delays in the passage of national budgets, the President wants ICAN to be part of the engagement process in budget preparation since the preparation of the annual Fiscal Strategy which entails revenue framework, expenditure framework, priority areas and MDAs’ strategic thrusts require skills and competences which are the inherent assets of professional accountants.