The Bank of Industry (BOI) has charged internal auditors to adhere to global best practices to remain relevant and attractive to business organisations, noting that internal auditors must support businesses to achieve set organisational goals especially at a time like this when the economy is in recession.
According to the acting Managing Director, BOI, Mr. Waheed Olagunju, internal auditors must not only identify obstacles hindering business organisations, but also seek ways to support businesses to remain profitable without violating regulatory requirements and incurring losses.
Olagunju who was represented by the Chief Risk Officer and acting Managing Director, National Economic Reconstruction Fund (NERFUND) Mr. Ezekiel Oseni, said: “Internal auditors should not only detect fraud, but help the management to achieve their purpose, but as we have it today, we have the internal auditors concentrating more on accuracy test, detecting and investigating fraud.”
He however stated that since he assumed office as acting Managing Director, NERFUND, he had been able to recover Non Performing Loans (NPLs) from customers who initially did not want to pay back the loans they borrowed, saying that NPLs estimated to be about N17.2 billion are still in the hands of those who defaulted in paying back the loans borrowed.
“The good news is that many of the customers that did not want to pay before have all being coming around to ask for a loan work out where we would also give them concessions on interest, but I insist that they must pay the entire principal sum before talking about their standing interest while I have successfully been able to refer others that are not willing to pay to Economic Crimes and Financial Commission (EFCC),” he added.
The representative of the acting BOI boss during a quarterly meeting of the Association of Audit Executives of Banks in Nigeria (ACAEBIN) said people involved in cyber crimes are very intelligent people and always look for loopholes, advising that it behoves of internal auditors to be on top of their game, study how the system works, identify loopholes are and ensure sufficient control mechanism to address cyber crimes in the country.
“The internal audit function today is not what it used to be many years ago due to several global and localised reasons such as the financial scandals which resulted in massive job losses and loss of shareholders’ fund, new regulations and the dynamics of the business environment,” he added.
He pointed out that internal audit function today is to provide independent assurance that the organisations risk management, governance and internal control are operating effectively, stressing that presently, internal audit function is involved in the transaction process to ensure errors and losses are avoided which is a more preventive measure while it also shares in the blames, losses and errors that could have been avoided.
According to him, “In the nearest future and it is happening already, the internal auditor rather than sticking to auditing of past activities or providing assurance on risk management, governance and internal control processes would be required to team up with strategic business units to ensure that proposed new businesses are undertaken without incuring losses to any form or violating the regulatory policies.”