The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria has called on the World Bank to approve loans for the federal and state governments in Nigeria based on their ranking on the ICAN Accountability Index.
The President, ICAN, Dr. Innocent Okwuosa, made this known in Abuja when he paid a courtesy call on the Country Director of the World Bank, Mr. Chubham Chaudhuri.
Okwuosa who was received by the bank’s Senior Financial Analyst, Mr. Akin Akinyele, described the ICAN Accountability Index as a public financial management tool initiated by ICAN to ensure that the three tiers of government embrace best practices in Public Finance Management (PFM).
Okwuosa was quoted in a statement by the institute as saying, “Corruption, unaccountability and poor public financial management are systemic within the Nigerian economic system. The UN sustainable development goals cannot be achieved under this socio-economic environment”. Therefore, ICAN in its public interest mandate is positioned to play a vital role in the improvement of public sector financial management and accountability in Nigeria.
The statement, signed by the Assistant Director, Corporate Communications, ICAN, Mrs Bunmi Owolabi, added that the ICAN Accountability Index has been acknowledged as having wider scope and better suited for Nigeria than similar initiatives like the Public Expenditure and Financial Accountability and the States Fiscal Transparency, Accountability and Sustainability Frameworks.
This, it said was due to the index’s scope captured in its five pillars, 25 indicators and 70 dimensions which are scaled across the federal, states and local governments.
For the tiers of government to improve their performances in the ICAN-AI, it is important that financial data are made publicly available to facilitate easy computation of the Index by the Institute.
Stakeholders at the federal, states and local governments were admonished to cooperate with ICAN-AI Assessors that visit ministries, departments and agencies to collate relevant data, in addition to those sourced online.
The institute commended the entities for the positive progress in the amount of financial information provided.
On average, 50 per cent of the information required was provided across the various levels of government in the 2020 assessment, compared to only 35 per cent and 28 per cent average availability rates in 2019 and 2018 respectively.
In 2021, 53 per cent of the information required was provided across the various levels of government.
The institute said this demonstrated some increased level of awareness and improved compliance with the plethora of laws and regulations in Nigeria mandating the availability of such information to stakeholders.
The ICAN-AI has been endorsed by local and international organizations such as the Department for International Development, the World Bank, International Federation of Accountants, the Chartered Accountants Worldwide, the Public Expenditure and Financial Accountability, the Pan African Federation of Accountants, BudgIT among others.
Okwuosa, therefore solicited the World Bank’s collaboration for the Accountability Index to ensure compliance with best practices in Public Finance Management in Nigeria.
”This collaboration will ensure that the assessments remain independent of Government interference, retain its objectivity and could replace States Fiscal Transparency, Accountability and Sustainability Framework through World Bank endorsement” he added.