By Henry Okonkwo
The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria has called for collaboration with the Federal Inland Revenue Service, the National Council on Climate Change, and other relevant stakeholders to raise public awareness and interest in the raging issue of Climate Change.
This call was in a communique issued at the end of ICAN’s 52nd annual Accountants’ Conference, which was held recently in Abuja.
The annual event, themed ‘Nigeria: Adopting Sustainability for Economic Prosperity,’ with 6,393 delegates from within and outside Nigeria, made critical governance, economic, environmental, and social recommendations to strengthen the country.
In the statement by the ICAN’s 58th President, Mallam Tijjani Musa Isa, and Registrar/Chief Executive, Prof. Ahmed Modu Kumshe, the professional accounting body emphasized the need for a strong institutional framework to attain a sustainable economy.
The group stressed the connection between governance issues and environmental and social challenges. They cited the recent flooding and drought in the country as examples of how governance issue has given rise to environmental and social issues.
ICAN also applauded the establishment of the National Council on Climate Change (NCCC) and described it as a “watershed” in Nigeria’s efforts to show commitment to environmental issues.
The statement reads, “The Institute should, as a matter of urgency, intensify its Continuing Professional Development programs on Environmental, Social, and Governance issues, if its members are to play a leading role in the Sustainability Reporting and Assurance landscape.
“Delegates suggested that the Institute should continuously supplement its syllabi with emerging trends, such as developments in sustainability and technology, to ensure that the profession does not lag in transformations.
“They also urged the Institute to continue to liaise with the National Universities Commission (NUC), the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) and other regulatory bodies in the education sector, to incorporate future developments into the curricula of the accounting departments.
“Delegates urged the Institute to collaborate with the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), National Council on Climate Change (NCCC), and other relevant stakeholders and specialized institutions, to facilitate public awareness and better understanding and appreciation of the specific design features of the Climate Change Act 2021, to further Nigeria’s climate change ambition.”
On how Nigeria could achieve sustainability in its Taxation systems, ICAN delegates noted that tax straddles the three pillars of sustainability – Environment, Social, and Governance.
They cited the provision for carbon taxes and emission trading provided in the Climate Change Act 2021 as an example of how taxation can be an instrument for promoting sustainable environmental practices and discouraging harmful ones.
Hence the delegates recommended that the “Government should deepen its transparency initiative by publicly disclosing the uses of tax, as a means of driving new revenues from sustainability initiatives.
“Also, the delegates noted that sustainability in revenue collection can be guaranteed through the recruitment of competent/qualified staff, adoption of appropriate technologies, and open communication channels.
“Delegates also observed the urgent need for the Joint Tax Board to harmonize taxes, and align technology for online verification and approvals,” part of the statement read.