FG tasks ICAN to lead innovations on sustainability for economic growth

The federal government has tasked the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) to lead innovations and discussions on sustainability in the country which will help foster economic growth and prosperity.

Speaking during the opening ceremony of the ongoing 52nd annual accountants’ conference hosted by ICAN in Abuja on Tuesday, Zainab Ahmed, Federal Minister of Finance, Budget and Planning said combating wastage and mismanagement is a crucial component of financial stability.

She urged the institute to lead innovations around sustainability and sustainability reporting as governments, investors and regulatory agencies have increased interest in it.

“The nation is not only confronted by the necessity of inclusive growth but also bound to measure growth, not in absolute terms but in terms of its environmental price, the social consequence, and the potential implication for posterity and long-term stability,” she said.

Ahmed who was represented by Sarah Alade, Special Adviser to the President on Finance and Economy reiterated that the Federal Government is committed to the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development and the SDGs, noting that for Nigeria, the estimated cost of Nigeria’s SDG financing requirements is about $100 billion.

“This commitment culminated in the recent launch of the Integrated National Financing Framework (INFF) which aims to enhance revenue collection at the national and sub-national levels, digitalize, optimize and make the tax system much more effective, better coordinate the budget processes, and make public spending much more effective,” she said.

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The finance minister noted that the National Development Plan has advanced clear strategies to intensify the transition and drive toward financial sustainability adding that Nigeria must deepen the revenue base of the economy through broader and strategic diversification.

In his address, Tijani Musa Isa, 58th president of ICAN said Nigeria’s economic growth has averaged 3.54 percent due to persistent low oil production and rising insecurity.

“Our export/import dynamics are still unsustainable, as long as we export primary products and import finished/processed goods, we will continue to be at the mercy of fluctuating external economic dynamics,” he said.

Isa added that other unfavorable macroeconomic conditions have necessitated discussions around sustainability which is important to economic recovery as well as safeguarding future prosperity and peace.

“Sustainability encourages entities to responsibly deploy financial, natural, human, and social capital for a better, cleaner, and more prosperous future which resonates with the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),” he said.

Isa said that recently, there has been a demand for companies to deliver values in more sustainable and responsible ways, adding that inflows into sustainable funds rose from $5 billion in 2018 to more than $50 billion in 2020 and nearly $70 billion in 2021.

“To effectively participate in the competitive global space, there is the need for our economy to revisit our environmental, social, and governance priorities, this would avail the dual advantage of attracting more sustainable funds into the country and enhancing our social license,” he said.

The ongoing ICAN conference themed ‘Nigeria; Adopting Sustainability for Economic Prosperity’ commenced on Monday October 10 and will end October 14. Discussions at the conference will explore emerging issues such as sustainability reporting, sustainable energy, green economy, innovative tax, digital transformation, etc.

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