Stakeholders have described the move by the National Assembly to amend the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) Act 1965, CAP. I11, LFN, 2004 as an encroachment into the statutory obligations of other professional bodies.
The legislation which was sponsored by Abubakar Yunusa Ahmad is meant to address emerging trends in the Nigerian economic environment and for related matters (HB 1178) as well as empower ICAN to regulate its members who practice accounting and taxation, among other professions.
Professionals who critic the bill maintained that if passed, such would start -off a clash of role between ICAN and Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria (CITN).
Present at the Public Hearing of the House of Representatives Committee on Finance were officials from CITN, Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators (ICSAN); Association of Forensic Accounting Researchers (AFAR) and Taxpayers’ Rights Initiative who unanimously took a stand against the legislation.
In his presentation, Legal Adviser of CITN, Mr. Chukwuemeka Eze, cited the CITN Act No. 76 of 1992, section 1 which empowers CITN to regulate and control the practice of taxation in all its ramifications.
He said, ” The Bill has brazenly included tax practice in section 21 (which introduces a new Section 15 to the Principal Act) of the ICAN Bill that “a Chartered Accountant shall be entitled to practice or hold himself out to practice as an Auditor, a Reporting Accountant, Financial Accounting and Corporate Reporting Services Practitioner, Financial Management Practitioner, Corporate Services Practitioner, Governance Risk and Compliance Services Practitioner, Tax Practitioner.”
“Section 28 of the Bill (amending Section 19 of the Principal Act) defines “Accountancy practice” as including “auditing, reporting accounting, investigations and forensic accounting, Financial Accounting and Corporate Reporting Services, Financial Management Services, Management Consultancy Services, Corporate Services, Governance Risk and Compliance Services, tax practice, accounting information systems practice, insolvency practice including receivership and liquidation as well as financial advisory.”
On his part, Chairman, Board of Trustees of AFAR, Prof. Muhammad Akaro Mainoma opined that the bill would inflict injury to other professions.
“Every profession though has residual knowledge in other professions but does not give such a profession the right to practice the other profession. On this basis, sections 21 and 28 should be expunged from the bill in order to engender inter-Institutional harmony, “h explained.