The practice of funding the recurrent expenditure of the nation’s annual budget with debts is unacceptable and should be stopped with immediate effect, the President of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria, Mr. Chidi Ajaegbu, has said.
Ajaegbu said the action would continue to hamper economic growth if the Federal Government failed to reverse it.
He stated this in an interaction with journalists in Lagos on Friday.
The ICAN president said, “Poor implementation of annual budgets of the Federal Government is traceable to avoidable delays in the passage of the fiscal bills. Significant expenditure is committed to the preparation of annual budgets in the country only for its implementation to be observed in the breach.
“It is important to enact a law which will define the nation’s budget cycle with specific timelines for each stage and sanctions for a breach of this law. It is observed that despite low level of budget implementation, we have been operating deficit budgets in Nigeria. The practice of funding recurrent expenditure through debt is unacceptable. It is tantamount to spending unearned income and therefore mortgaging the future by abating possible future economic development. This negative policy should be addressed urgently as it is unsustainable.”
A nation’s economic development, he said, was largely dependent on the educational standard of the citizens.
Ajaegbu, who observed that the educational system had over the years been crying for effective and efficient attention, however, called on the government to step up its efforts at revamping the nation’s educational system.
He maintained that “even though the Federal Government has made efforts to address the challenges, the faint measures still appear very little.
“A poor educational system is likely to feed unto professional education and training with severe negative consequences,” he added.
Ajaegbu recalled that the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria recently embarked on a nationwide strike to protest the non-compliance with the order of the Federal High Court, Abuja on the financial autonomy and independence of the arm of governance.
In order to avoid promotion of impunity on the part of government and to grow our nascent democracy, he said the government needed to vigorously pursue and maintain the independence of the judiciary by implementing the first charge against the Revenue Account as prescribed in the 1999 Constitution Consolidated.
The ICAN president also said President Goodluck Jonathan would declare open the 44th annual accountants’ conference of the institute holding in Abuja next month.
He said the theme of the conference, ‘Protecting the public interest: enhancing professionalism,’ was carefully chosen to create a platform for participants to critically appraise the role and expectation of professional bodies in nation building.
He noted that the 19th World Congress of Accountants organised by the International Federation of Accountants and the Italian Institute of Accountants would take place in Rome in November, adding that over 800 delegates from Nigeria would attend the event.
“In strict adherence to the mission statement of the institute, ‘to produce world class chartered accountants, the ICAN has over the years certified 38,505 chartered accountants who are engaged in value creation in various sectors of the economy. Apart from being in professional practice, ICAN members are engaged in the three tiers of governments as well as the private sector.”