Institute signs Nigerian accountancy agreement

8 Jun 10
A letter of intent signed at the conference yesterday heralded an era of greater co-operation and collaboration between CIPFA and the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria
By Vivienne Russell

8 June 2010

A letter of intent signed at the conference today heralded an era of greater co-operation and collaboration between CIPFA and the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria.

The signing marked the culmination of this year’s international seminar and was one of the last acts of outgoing CIPFA president Roger Latham.

Latham, who attended ICAN’s conference in Nigeria last year, told the seminar there was a ‘great synergy’ between CIPFA and ICAN’s own public service ambitions.

‘We have the development and extension and growth of public service accountancy at our hearts, together,’ Latham told delegates.

‘And so we felt there was room for an agreement to be reached between us to have mutual recognition, to have the ability to deliver something jointly that was in everybody’s interests: in the interests of ICAN, in the interests of CIPFA.’

Major General Sebastian Owuama, president of ICAN, said the letter of intent could not have come at a more appropriate time.

He lamented the ‘dearth’ of qualified finance professionals working in the public sector in every tier of government in Nigeria. The letter of intent would provide greater impetus to ‘bring in a higher level of professionalism and skill into the [public finance] system’, Owuama added.

The problems of professionalisation in African countries was highlighted earlier in the seminar by Gert van der Linde, lead public financial management specialist at the World Bank. He described problems in attracting and retaining professionally qualified finance staff in the public sector.

Van der Linde said these problems were not helped by lagging public sector pay rates but added that professional accountancy bodies in Africa were ‘not responsive’ to the needs of public bodies. This had led to a ‘critical shortage of professional staff’ and weak financial management systems and governance and accountability arrangements.

CIPFA has been working with the Tanzanian National Board of Auditors and Accountants to address the professionalisation problem. It has also suggested changes made to the country’s existing general accountancy qualification. The Tanzanian government is currently considering how best to proceed and will work with CIPFA in implementing the chosen solution, van der Linde told delegates.

The seminar also heard about the forthcoming launch of the Commonwealth (Local Government) Finance Officers Network – CFO Net – an online community of practice for professionals working in local government in the 54 Commonwealth member states. The project is being supported by CIPFA and the Commonwealth Secretariat.

CFO Net is due to go live at the end of June.

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