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Nigeria’s high corruption index worries accountants

Association of National Accountants of Nigeria (ANAN) yesterday decried the alarming rate of corruption in the country, wondering why all efforts aimed at curbing the menace have not yielded fruits.

Speaking at the 19th Annual Conference of Certified National Accountants in Abuja, the president of the association, Alhaji Sakirudeen Tunji Labode, said that the issue of corruption had assumed an alarming dimension in the polity and that all Nigerians need increased and pragmatic effort to fight the menace that has hampered rapid economic  development in the country over the years.

He lamented that the cankerworm has made Nigeria lose several investment opportunities from the global business community.

According to him, no right thinking investor will invest in an environment that is infested with corruption.

“Corruption will scare away the much sought after Foreign Direct Investment in the country as foreigners’ confidence in the economy is being eroded” he said. He added that the association is a proponent of corruption-free society.

Labode said on its own ANAN has a disciplinary mechanism for dealing with erring members in the association.

“The investigating panel established under the association’s enabling law investigates complaints and issues bordering on professional misconduct of members and where it establishes a prima-facie case against a member, it refers same to the Disciplinary Tribunal of the association established by ANAN Act. The tribunal has the status of a high court with right of appeal to the Court of Appeal” Labode stated.

On conducive business environment, the ANAN president said for investment to thrive, it was imperative for the government to create a veritable environment, capable of wooing investors as well as assisting already existing businesses to flourish.

In his keynote address, Board Chairman, Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Dr Suleyman Ndanusa, observed that corruption remains one of the greatest challenges facing the Nigerian economy.

He referred to the latest report of German-based Transparency International, which ranked Nigeria 33 most corrupt country in the world while the Corruption Perception Index 2013 ranked Nigeria 144 out of 177 nations in the world with 25 points.

‘”This year, Nigeria shared the podium of infamy with crisis-torn Central African Republic and neighbouring Cameroon.  This result is alarming and the trend should not be allowed to continue,” he stated, adding that the accountancy profession has contributed greatly to the growth of the economy.

Ndanusa stated that for accountancy to play to its full potential, it had to play a major role in the fight against corruption in the country.

Declaring the three day conference which has the theme: “100 years of Governance and Accountability in Nigeria: Lessons from the Accountancy Profession” open, President Goodluck Jonathan, who was represented by the Accountant General of the Federation, Mr. Jonah Ogunniyi Otunla, stated that despite all criticisms of contemporary governance, government is still the most powerful institution of society.

The president stated that no matter how large or influential any individual,  corporation or association may become, such entities must abide by the rules that are established and enforced by government.

“As a pivotal institution with such enormous responsibilities, therefore it is imperative for government to be right and founded on transparency, probity and accountability” he said, noting that to create the desired synergy of actions aimed at improving the quality of lives of the citizenry through sustainable development these same virtues are demanded of other socio economic and professional institutions such as ANAN.

However, following the dwindling resources occasioned by the low production of oil, the president urged the professionals to tackle the challenge of enhancing government revenue for better financing of annual budgets.

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