The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria on Wednesday unveiled its latest Accountability Index, which assesses the level of public finance accountability of federal, states and local governments.
The launch of the index was witnessed by stakeholders including the civil society organisations and the World Bank during a virtual presentation.
The President, ICAN, Mrs Onome Adewuyi, in her keynote address at the public presentation of the 2019 ICAN Accountability Index Report, said the index would make the Federal Government, states and Local Government Areas more accountable to Nigerians.
She recalled that the institute had in 2017 launched the ICAN-AI for assessing the level of accountability and quality of public finance management practices across the three tiers of government in Nigeria.
According to her, the initiative was borne out of the institute’s commitment to serving the public interest and promotion of accountability, transparency, accuracy and integrity in the Nigerian economy over the past 55 years.
The 2019 ICAN-AI report, she said, was initially scheduled to be presented publicly in March 2020 but the plan was disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic and the lockdown of most economies across the world.
Adewuyi noted that the outbreak of the pandemic, with its great toll on public finances, had made it even more urgent for countries to develop a more robust assessment framework for their public financial management systems.
She said the need for an efficient public finance management system was also underscored by the Sustainable Development Goal 16 that emphasises peace, justice and strong institutions.
The ICAN president emphasised the need for the government at all levels to assess their rankings in the index, and make necessary adjustments for the development of the country.
She said, “It is imperative that all governments assessed in the report consider the improvement/decline in their ICAN-AI rankings as a key performance indicator for assessing relevant government functionaries.
“It is also important that non-governmental organisations: including civil society organisations, faith based organisations as well as other stakeholder know that the report can be reliably utilised to measure the performance of our governments in terms of public accountability.
“We have had discussions with World Bank and look forward to receiving endorsements for the 2020 ICAN-AI Report.
“The institute wishes to solicit more support from the various development partners in its drive to entrench good public sector governance and accountability in Nigeria.”