ICAN abolishes automatic membership for foreign professionals

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November 13, 2012 / Johnson Ayantunji / Daily Independent

Nigerian foreign trained chartered accountants would no longer be granted automatic membership of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN).

President of the institute, Adedoyin Owolabi who made this known at the 50th induction ceremony of the new members held in Lagos, also said that the holders of foreign qualifications would be made to write examinations in specific papers for Nigerians needs.

The council, he continued has been tinkering with the idea for a while and only arrived at the decision recently.

“The Council of our Institute has considered for some time the modality of admitting foreign trained accountants into the membership of ICAN; and has decided to subject the practice to a review. Consequently therefore, the inductees from the last exercise held in October 2012 who are being inducted today (Wednesday), will be the last set to be offered direct membership of the Institute.”

Also, Owolabi warned the newly admitted members not to run foul of the ethics of the profession as anyone caught shall be made to face the disciplinary panel of the council.

According to him, there can be no better time to uphold the ethics of the profession than now as the profession now suffers credibility problem due to corporate failures in all jurisdictions.

“The recent incidents in our banking sector have again re-echoed the need for transparency in our corporate activities. Professionals across a wide spectrum of professions have demonstrated indiscretion in their application of regulatory and ethical standards and within the accountancy profession; there is concern of inconsistencies and failure to comply with accounting and other regulatory requirements.

“As you are no doubt aware, it is the prevalence of corruption and sharp practices in low and high places in the nation that has contributed to the slow pace of development of this richly endowed nation. This is exacerbated by the absence of transparency and accountability.  Indeed, financial improprieties by persons in position of trust have been a recipe for under-development, increased suffering of the citizens, unemployment, hunger and anger of the poor and insecurity for all.

“There is a direct relationship between a nation’s value system and its level of economic growth and development and this call for soul searching among the citizens and in particular, among Chartered Accountants whose main strengths are integrity and credibility. We must hold dear to these virtues on which our survival depends. As the conscience of the nation, accounting professionals must strive to create oasis of sanity in their spheres of influence such that a virtuous society will emerge.

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