The Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria engaged the stakeholders on the post implementation review of IFRS in Nigeria. This is in furtherance of her mandate of promoting trade and investment in Nigeria by ensuring high standards of financial reporting and corporate governance The Programme which took place on Thursday, March 8, 2018, was attended by representatives from external auditors, professional and accounting bodies in Nigeria, as well as relevant government agencies.
It will be recalled that the Nigerian Accounting Standards Board (NASB) the constituted a Committee on Road Map for the adoption of International Financial Reporting Standards in Nigeria in October 2009. The committee came up with steps and timeframe for the transition. However, its report was finally approved on July 28, 2010 by the Federal Executive Council. The Listed Companies and Public Interest Entities (PIEs) were the first adopters in 2012, which was the first year of reporting, Other Public Interest Entities (OPIEs) adopted in January 2013, while Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) also adopted in 2014 respectively.
With the understanding that IFRS have been effective in Nigeria between 2-6 years of usage it became imperative to conduct review of adoption of IFRS in Nigeria in order to understand the challenges and evaluate its performance. The stakeholders’ engagement was held to enable the Council get the buy-in of relevant key stakeholders and agree on the scope of the planned PIR.
The Executive Secretary/CEO, Mr. Daniel Asapokhai, stressed the need to embark on the post implementation review which will enable the Council to gather appropriate data to enable government issue policy that will further enhance trade and investment. He further stated that it was apparent that IFRS is only seen as a year-end reporting tool and not fully embedded in business decisions; also, the academic and professional education in Nigeria has not changed sufficiently to meet the full requirements of IFRS.
Some of the key issues highlighted by Mr. Asapokhai in his address, which he expect the PIR to be addressing are: level of awareness and understanding of IFRS amongst professionals and entities; Deployment of Information Technology (IT) Infrastructure and data; Inadequate human capacity; Non clarity of some standards; Reporting Arbitrage – No uniformity in financial statements and multiple submissions for various purposes; Restrictive definition of SMEs in the roadmap; Dichotomy in resources of organisations to afford service of IFRS professionals and audit firms; Disparities between industries and noncompliance of the unregulated industries.
In addition, the post implementation review will assist to identify the significant implementation issues, decide on whether the roadmap needs to be recalibrated or brought to a close with a conclusion on Nigeria’s position on IFRS;
It will also help to understand the journey so far, identify issues to deal with and the appropriate responses both at the policy level and operational level as well as identify those struggling with it and why.
The review, he concluded, will assist to clarify if the envisaged benefits mentioned in the roadmap pre-adoption have been realised and assist in identifying the challenges the SMEs are facing, how to reduce compliance burden, make reporting easier and provide access to capital for the MSMEs.
There was a consensus that the implementation has not been smooth sailing; that there are various issues on IFRS, capabilities, adoption etc. that are worthy of further review. The participants were of the view that the study is desirable and should commence immediately.
Having established the challenges and identified the limitations, improving and ensuring high quality financial reporting and corporate governance is paramount in Nigeria. The stakeholders agreed that the role of professional accounting bodies, regulators particularly the FRC is crucial in promoting the adoption of IFRS in Nigeria.
The forum was of the opinion that it is imperative for the Council to improve on enlightenment programmes, promote IFRS not only as an accounting framework but a business reporting model which cuts across contract, processes, people, etc., and revisit the IFRS academy to reduce the dearth of professionals.
It was established that a lot of preparers in the economy use IFRS despite over 70% of them being MSMEs. Therefore, it is significant to understand why they are not using IFRS for SMEs which is relatively simple and SMEGA level 3 which is simpler and easier to adopt. If SMEs are able to prepare, report financials in a simple manner and have access to capital, it would stimulate trade and investments in Nigeria.
Existence of a National Reporting Repository is critical in ensuring credibility, reliability and unified submission of financial statements to all government agencies. Furthermore, this would change the basis for lending in Nigeria from collateral to financial statements which provides a historical data of a business.
Two members of Senate Committee on Trade & Investment: Senator Nelson Effiong and Senator Fatimat Raji-Rasaki, represented the Committee at the event and assured of the National Assembly’s willingness to amend and enact legislations that would aid the activities of the Council as well business performance in Nigeria.
Participants were drawn from the World Bank, Central Bank of Nigeria, Securities and Exchange Commission, Corporate Affairs Commission, Pension Commission, Federal Ministry of Finance, KPMG, PWC, Ernst &Young, Deloitte, Small and Medium Practitioners, Small and Medium Development Agency of Nigeria, etc.