AGF: Accountability in Public Finance Management Will Boost Trust, Credible Financial System

James Emejo in Abuja

Accountant-General of the Federation (AGF), Dr. Oluwatoyin Madein, yesterday maintained that accountability and transparency in public finance management remained crucial in fostering citizens’ trust and credibility of the financial system.
Speaking at the opening of the 2024 capacity building and training programme for accountants-general in Nigeria, with the theme, “Contemporary Issues in Public Finance Management: A Call for Accountability, Credibility, and Transparency in Governance”, the AGF said it was the duty of accounting professionals to establish and maintain robust mechanisms that can track, report and audit the use of public funds.

Madein said, “This will ensure that we meet the expectations of our stakeholders and uphold the integrity of our policies. Credibility in our profession is non-negotiable. It is built on consistency, reliability, and ethical behaviour.”
She said the workshop’s theme was both timely and imperative amid the rapid changes in the fiscal space, adding that it was essential to revisit and reinforce the accounting profession’s core principles.

She said accountability remained the cornerstone of effective public finance management, stressing that as custodians of public resources, accountants general bear enormous responsibility of ensuring that funds are used efficiently, effectively, and for the intended purposes.
The AGF said, “As accounting officers, our actions and decisions must be guided by the highest standards of professional conduct. We must be transparent in our operations and communicate openly with our stakeholders, providing clear and accurate information about the state of public finance.

“Building credibility requires a continuous commitment to professional development and adhering best practice in public finance management and ensuring transparency which is the bedrock of good governance – it promotes openness, fosters trust and deters corruption.

“In our roles as accountant-general, we must champion transparency by ensuring that financial information is accessible, comprehensible, and timely. Doing so enables the public and other stakeholders to make informed decisions and hold us accountable for our actions.”
She said transparency in public finance management also involved engaging civil society and other oversight bodies to provide a clear picture of how public resources are utilised.

Madein further urged accounting professionals to embrace innovation and adopt new technologies that enhance their capabilities, noting that digitalisation of financial processes, implementation of integrated financial management systems and use of data analytics are key to improving efficiency and effectiveness.
She said, “As we navigate contemporary challenges and opportunities in public finance management, we face numerous challenges such as economic volatility, fiscal pressures, and increasing public scrutiny.

“However, these challenges also present opportunities for us to demonstrate our resilience, adaptability, and leadership, by staying informed about global trends, adopting best practices, and collaborating with our peers, we can turn these opportunities for growth and development.
“This retreat provides us with a valued platform to discuss, deliberate, and devise strategies to address the contemporary issues in public finance management.”
In his remarks, Chairman, Forum of Accountants-General in Nigeria, Mr. Umar Ahmed, said the theme underscored the critical role accountants play in shaping the country’s financial landscape.

He said as stewards of public funds, accountants bore the responsibility of ensuring that financial resources are managed efficiently, ethically, and in the best interest of our citizens.
Ahmed, who is currently the Accountant-General, Sokoto State, pointed out that in an era of heightened scrutiny, accountants must uphold the highest standards of accountability, adding that their actions should be transparent, and answerable for every Naira entrusted to them.

He said, “The public’s trust in our profession hinges on our credibility. As accountants, we must maintain our integrity, adhere to professional ethics, and avoid conflicts of interest. Our decisions should be guided by policies, rules and regulations in the pursuit of the common good.
“Transparency is the bedrock of good governance. Let us champion openness in financial processes, ensuring that information is accessible to all stakeholders. Transparent financial systems foster public confidence and promote economic stability.”

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