BY MARK ITSIBOR,
Minister of finance, budget and national planning, Zainab Ahmed has said accountants must take urgent and drastic steps to face corruption head-on. The minister said professional accountants in Nigeria should imbibe ethical behaviour centered on competence, integrity, objectivity, independence, responsibility, conscientiousness and conformity to standards to deal with corruption in public and private establishments.
The minister made the statement at a sensitisation programme that was organised by Association of National Accountants of Nigeria (ANAN) in collaboration with International Federation of Accountants with the theme: “Fighting Corruption Requires Accountants to Act”.
She said, “Good ethical standards must be exhibited by accountants at all times either as professionals under public or private sector employment or as practitioners providing independent professional services. Accountants are indeed in a position to stem corrupt and fraudulent practices anytime they lean on the twin pillars of sound professional ethics and personal integrity.”
The finance minister who said “Accountant must indeed act now!!” also held that ANAN must continue to develop its curricula and practice direction to ensure that its members adhere strictly to the ethics of the profession. “Accountants should be ready advocates for good governance at all times.”
Ahmed said in view of the burdening pressure on the economy, government has no choice but to deliberately control cost, while boosting its revenue in order to achieve an equilibrium that would ensure stability of resources for the execution of government policies.
Also, ANAN president Prof Muhammad Akaro Mainoma said the professional body would have to come up with strategies to initiate controls to prevent corruption.
He tasked the accountants on measures to stern the tide of corruption, saying ANAN is bothered about the challenges corruption poses to all facets of the Nigerian project.
“It is better to establish modalities for control,” he said.
Mainoma said ANAN members should use the opportunity of the conference to identify what can be done as accountants to establish a congruence between the need of the nation and the need of the people, adding that corruption is as a result of family and peer pressures.
“We must come up with ways to use technology to fight corruption. We must promote integrity as accountants. We should be able to use technology to do that,” he said.
He said fighting corruption is a major issue of creating opportunities for the Nigerian people “that will make our people to do those things that are legitimate than indulge in corruption,” he said, asking “We can look at it from the point of view of responsibility as accountants. What are we doing with that kind of responsibility?”