According to reports, the Finance Minister, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, has explained that the current administration’s commitment to accountability and transparency is non-negotiable.
She spoke at the opening of the 46th Annual Conference of the Chartered Institute of Nigeria (ICAN).
The minister urged the institute to ensure that accountability and transparency remain the watchword of its members.
According to her, the government’s open door policy and timely release of vital information would continue.
The need for professionalism, she said, was needed to join forces with the administration’s bid to promote transparency in governance.
The conference, with the theme: ‘Accountability Now, Nigeria’, was attended by the Vice President Mr. Yemi Osinbajo, Gombe State Governor, Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo, his counterpart in Ogun, Ibikunle Amosun and former Governor of Anambra State, Mr. Peter Obi, among others.
The minister explained that the accounting body now has greater roles to play in the current dispensation, adding that the era when accountants just offered suggestions was over.
She said: “When things go wrong in the private sector, they affect just one company, but when things go wrong in the public sector, they affect the whole nation and that is why we must raise the bar for public financial management.
“The days when ICAN stayed in the background are gone. That is why I am challenging the institute to move from the background to the forefront. We need more accountants in all tiers of government because they have a very big role to play.”
Adeosun said the Finance Ministry has started a capacity building for the nation’s accountants, by ensuring that larger firms partner smaller and medium scale firms on any assignment.
“We need to build capacity within the smaller and medium-sized practices.
In the Finance Ministry, we have resolved that a large firm must partner smaller firms for any assignment and the practice has started,” she said.
According to her, one of the measures the current administration has put in place, is to ensure that its public finance management is better enhanced.
She said a lot of lessons have been learnt from past mistakes hence the implementation of a set of robust public finance management policies.
She added: “One of the things we have done since we came to the office was to ensure that our public finance management is better enhanced. We didn’t really have early warning signals from where we were headed. If we had better data, we wouldn’t be here today.
“Nigeria was one of the few countries without a risk-based independent internal audit. We started with the Presidential Initiative on Continuous Audit. On assuming office, we found that there were little controls, no audit and reconciliation, which are the basic tools for reconciling expenditure with payroll.”
The minister said under the circumstance, there were thousands of payroll entries of people who were not supposed to be there. This made the presidential audit to move into a formal independent-risk based internal audit.
Adeosun explained: “We also set up the efficiency unit and we thank ICAN for its support. We have been able to drive down our costs considerably. The savings are creating the head room that is clearly needed to be invested in funding capital projects which would grow the economy.”