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Financial Discipline… Making Every Naira Count – Another Look

Source: thewillnigeria.com
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In the short period that I have been privileged to serve as Minister of Finance, I have observed that even the most basic systems and controls over the management of our resources are in dire need of strengthening. While we are regaled with and shocked by details of amounts stolen, diverted or wasted, we must face the cold reality that such acts are facilitated by weaknesses in our systems. Even if we successfully prosecute and jail every looter, ghost worker and other economic saboteur, there is every risk that those caught will only be replaced by persons who are just as bad, or worse – unless we radically strengthen our systems and institutions.   Kemi Adeosun

All the emphasis are mine.
A true finance manager, Kemi Adeosun, is now on board. The above expression is what some of us have been trying to say. I have tried, Mr. Okey Ndibe has tried and some others have tried. Let's hear it again:

Even if we successfully prosecute and jail every looter, ghost worker and other economic saboteur, there is every risk that those caught will only be replaced by persons who are just as bad, or worse

A Daniel has come to judgment. The question is “is anybody listening?” Ms. Adeosun did go on to praise the President for his enthusiastic pursuit of economic saboteurs (her word) the sad fact is that unless we put system and internal controls in place we are wasting our time. In every CPA examination, ever Chattered Accountancy examination, system and internal controls question appear over and over again. The only reason $2.1 billion was able to walk away from the Defense budget was because the controls were not there. What are System and Internal Controls?

Internal controls are methods put in place by a company to ensure the integrity of financial and accounting information, meet operational and profitability targets and transmit management policies throughout the organization.

Procedures designed and established to check, record , regulate, supervise , authenticate, and (if necessary) restrict, the access to an asset , resource , or system .

Read more: http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/control-system.html#ixzz42SqZ9uAj

The starting point in getting Nigeria ready for development is to build and strengthen the country's management systems. System and Internal Controls cannot prevent all criminal activities but they will alert management of fraudulent activities and who the perpetrators are and when they occurred. The concept of double entry bookkeeping is founded on this principle. If an entry is made to asset/liability (income/expense) each arm of the entry will travel on its path to meet somewhere. They are self balancing. When they fail to meet there is sign of trouble that would require retracing of the paths. That is what an audit tries to establish.

Ms. Adeosun's warning should be carried out. PMB should empower her to carry out this suggestion. We know that under OBJ, about $5 billion was recovered from Abacha's loot. Where is the beef?

there is every risk that those caught will only be replaced by persons who are just as bad, or worse

This is what happened to the recoveries made before. Chasing looters first before strengthening our system and internal controls will be merely pouring water in basket and hoping it will stay.

It cannot happen.
Thank you Ms. Adeosun. I hope you will have the chance to execute your vision.

Good luck.
Written by Benjamin Obiajulu Aduba.

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