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Expert tasks ECOWAS to adopt Unified Accountability System  

A Financial expert has identified lack of uniformity in the International Public Sector Accounting Standard, IPSAS, as one of the major problems confronting the ECOWAS bloc.

The International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS) are a set of accounting standards for use by public sector entities around the world in the preparation of financial statements.

These standards are based on International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) issued by the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) with the aim of improving the quality of financial reporting by public sector entities, for better assessments of resource allocation decisions made by governments, thereby increasing transparency and accountability.

The Deputy Director, Centre for Entrepreneurship Studies, University of Abuja, Nigeria, Dr James Adefiranye, gave the assertion in a presentation on “Compliance with International Public Sector Accounting Standard”, at the meeting of the joint committee on Public Accounts of the ECOWAS Parliament, in Lome, Togo.

According to him, adopting the IPSAS would greatly help ECOWAS member states move forward in dealing with their financial statements and reports.

He said the level of adoption of the IPSAS by member states differ, and that what was being experienced in the ECOWAS member states was an attempt to prepare government’s financial statements using the accrual basis.

Dr. Adefiranye stressed that; by extension lack of uniformity of IPSAS in member states would likely affect activities of the ECOWAS.

“For example, when ECOWAS report is strictly on IPSAS accrual basis, and the local communities have another system, when you send your report, government of such States will have to delay in accepting your reports, because, they are doing it according to the cash basis they are used to, then is looks strange or questionable”, Dr Adefiranye explained.

He recommended that, if they must achieve a near perfect, transparency and accountability in ECOWAS states, they need to adopt and apply the use of IPSAS.

“He said although almost all states in ECOWAS have tilted towards IPSAS, the challenge however was in the area of implementation.

Dr Adefiranye therefore, urged the Members of the Parliament to do a careful study of the outcome of the audit management letters, to pinpoint areas and aspects that need urgent attention, and to ensure they scrutinize each item raised in every audit management.

Reporting by Idara Ukpanyang, editing by Daniel Adejo