Nigerian states move slowly to take up international accounting standards

30 Oct 18

Nigerian states are lagging behind in the adoption of international accounting standards, the country’s accountant general has warned.

The country is currently in the process of implementing IPSAS at all levels of government in the aim of improving the quality of public accounts.

Although the federal government has already aligned its reporting with the international standards, the country’s 36 independent states can determine their own timescales for adoption.

Ahmed Idris, the country’s accountant general, warned that for the move to be a success all levels of government should take up the IPSAS standards at the same pace.

“We need to be moving together at the same level,” he was quoted as saying by Nigerian online media The Guardian. He was speaking at an IPSAS implementation workshop organised by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants in Abuja.

He added: “We are talking and engaging those states that are lagging behind, but they are independent - we cannot impose anything on them.”

It is hoped the government’s talks with the independent states would help ensure the implementation was “seamless”.

Idris said the country was adopting the IPSAS standards in the hope of improving financial management in the country and rooting out corruption.  He urged the independent local governments to start implementation.

Moving to IPSAS, as well as other public financial sector reforms such as the Treasury single account and an integrated personnel and payroll information system, is being done to try and block loopholes in the Nigerian financial management system and fight corruption.

The government is partnering with ACCA to build skills within the government, such as training and professional development for financial officers.

Nigeria should demonstrate its commitment to IPSAS to the international community, Idris added.

“We have partners that would want to see us [adopting] these global best practices that will go a long way in the fight against corruption,” he said.

According to the ACCA, Nigeria began IPSAS implementation in 2016 . The federal government’s financial statements have already been aligned with IPSAS, the accountant general confirmed earlier this year. It said as well as improving financial management it should also encourage foreign investment.

  • Professor Irfan Bora

    Rutgers’ director of the master of accountancy in governmental accounting program

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