Implement IPSAS or face ‘natural sanctions’, FG warns MDAs

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The federal government has tasked all finance departments of Ministries Departments and Agencies (MDAs), to quickly implement the International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS) or face ‘natural sanctions’, meaning that their access to public funds will be greatly impaired from next year.

An IPSAS Board member and Presiding Chairman, FAAC Sub-Committee on IPSAS implementation, Mr Chris Etim Nyong, gave the advice in Abuja on Wednesday at the opening session of a three-day nationwide capacity building on IPSAS implementation for Finance Directors in the three tiers of government.

He explained that IPSAS aims to improve the quality of general purpose financial reporting by public sector entities, leading to better informed assessments of the resource allocation decisions made by governments, thereby increasing transparency and accountability.

On what may happen to MDAs that fail to embrace IPSAS, Nyong said: “Nothing will happen to anybody. You’ll just find yourself out of tune. Sanctions will come naturally because if you’re unable to implement IPSAS as an MDA, it means your access to public funds will be impaired. It’s a natural sanction.

“Nigeria began IPSAS implementation in 2016 and so, we are still advancing, we’re still making progress. So, a deadline has already been passed”.

On the challenges that have impaired the full IPSAS implementation, Nyong said: “One of them is lack of capacity and competencies for those who are to implement it. That is why this programme is being organised today. It’s strategically to build capacity to address that challenge of capacity.

“The second challenge is the orientation of public finance practitioners in our country that have been used to a particular system. Now, they’re being called to change their approach. You now see that as a challenge because you now have to reorient people towards the new order”.

Earlier in his opening remarks, the Acting Accountant General of the Federation, Mr Sylva Okolieaboh, said the event was part of the training and retraining template for

finance operators to improve their competencies and skills in the preparation and presentation of IPSAS accrual accounting compliant General Purpose Financial Statements

(GPFS).

“Since the implementation of IPSAS Accrual Basis of Accounting on 1st January, 2016, we have constantly engaged with key stakeholders like we are doing today and we have equally provided support in form of capacity building across the Federal, States and Local Governments for seamless implementation.

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“Due to certain drawbacks, not all entities of government have been able to effectively migrate from Cash Basis Accounting to IPSAS Accrual Basis of Accounting. One of the major drawbacks that we have identified is inadequate manpower and capacity at the various levels of government to drive IPSAS implementation and that is why the Sub-committee has made concerted effort to continue to build capacities across the three tiers of government.

“As part of the effort of the Sub-Committee, relevant reference materials including

Accounting Policies to be adopted, Guidelines on the recognition of legacy assets, Highlight of what you need to know on IPSAS, Accrual Accounting Manual and other Financial Reporting publications and templates have been developed to further enhance the proficiency of key finance operators”, he explained.

He also recalled that the Federal Executive Council (FEC) on July 28, 2010 took the decision to adopt and implement the provisions of IPSAS by public sector entities (PSEs) in Nigeria and the subsequent setting up of the Sub-committee by FAAC to provide a roadmap to guide the implementation at the three tiers of government.

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