As part of his Completion Agenda, Mr. Udom Emmanuel, Akwa Ibom State governor, has made human capacity development part of his primary focal areas. This is borne out of his understanding of how private sector operates, that qualified and well-trained human capital is what drives the engine of growth and economic development. To the governor, industrialization effort will amount to another square peg in a round hole if practical steps were not taken to address the shortfall of innovative workforce.

This is why the quiet effort of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN), Uyo and District Society is not only commendable but worth emulating. ICAN has continued to train and retrain its members regularly to enable them stay relevant in the dynamics of the emerging economies of the century. Tuesday July 13 was addition to the success story of ICAN, Uyo and District Society, as she held a workshop on, Preparing SMEs for Funding.

The focus on SMEs funding was so apt, coming at a time when government at all tiers are looking for ways to stimulate economic development, cut down unemployment and poverty rates through SMEs. But reports have shown that most SMEs hardly benefit from Federal and State government funding assistance for SMEs, due largely to poor structuring, poor documentation, poor financial records and unavailability of bankable business plan.
Areas of focus of the workshop were; Funding Sources Available to SMEs, Documentations and Importance of Record – keeping in Getting Funding, Attracting the Investor, Preparation of Financial Forecast and Preparation of Business Plans, Videos and Case Exercises.

Mr. Enefiok Peter, one of the trainers harped on the importance of record-keeping of all transactions. According to him, record-keeping and documentation are critical aspects of business management that accountants should never overlook. But unfortunately, many organizations have run into murky waters with tax agencies due to failure to produce required documents regarding their operations. He also updated participants on latest financial policies of the Federal Government as they affect SMEs in the State.

The workshop also restated the roles accountants play in the economic development of any society and the imperative of being on the cutting-edge of issues and development in the business and economy.

According to the 10th Chairman of ICAN Uyo and District Society, Deaconess Eno Ime Akpan FCA, the workshop became necessary to sharpen the skills and knowledge of accountants in the operations of SMEs. “The role of accountants in the economy of the State is very crucial to growth and sustainability of the economic development. Accountants, especially when you’re a chartered, have a primary role of ensuring that there’s accuracy, integrity and thoroughness in an organization. Having accurate information regarding your transactions will boost transparency, efficiency and integrity of the place. Your integrity will earn your organization more investments as prospective investors will have more confidence in your organization. By so doing, the economy of the place will not only develop on a sustainable basis, it will expand,” she said.

ICAN, she further stated, has been contributing to the economic development of the State through building the capacity of accountants for efficiency, resulting in increased output.

Her words: “When it comes to the public sector, having round pegs in a round holes matters a lot in building a growing economy. Of course you can see from the performance of His Excellency, Deacon Udom Emmanuel FCA, who is a chartered accountant, we can see the professionalism the governor has brought into governance. He has been able to manage scarce resources in such a way that every sector of the economy is greatly impacted. Within his few years in office, he has established 18 industries and still counting as such create jobs for the teeming unemployed youths and the multiplier effects of this industries has touched the general populace. With what this Government has done, you cannot classify this state as a civil service state anymore.”

Akpan applauded Governor Emmanuel for his generous contributions to ICAN Uyo and District Society, particularly the ICAN training centre and sponsorship of interested indigenes of the State both in tuition and examination fees for ICAN qualifying examinations. This effort has helped to produce over 118 chartered accountants in Akwa Ibom State between 2018 and 2021.

Against the backdrop of fear of some prospective students over the rigours one has to pass through to become chartered, Akpan argued that the process was not as difficult as some perceived. However, she observed that ICAN examination was one that does not leak and that to be chartered, a candidate needed to study harder.

“To be a chartered accountant means you have to be able to defend your certificate. The only way to do this is to study and pass your exams without any influence from anywhere. In Nigeria, some persons often look for easy way out but for ICAN, there’s no easy way out, you have to study to earn it,” she stressed.

Just one year in office as the 10th Chairman of ICAN Uyo and District Society, Deaconess Eno Akpan has recorded many impressive achievements. The most outstanding achievement in the period was the foundation laying ceremony of ICAN Uyo and District Society building, christened Udom Emmanuel ICAN house and Entrepreneurial Centte within the banking and business layout of Uyo by Udo Udoma avenue.

Among other achievements in one year are the successful inauguration of ICAN Eket and District Society by ICAN’s 56th President, Dame Onome Joy Adewuyi, FCA, participation in Agric Business EXPO 2020, hosting of ICAN week, Dinner and Award night. ICAN also embarked on ‘Catch Them Young’ outreaches to some secondary schools to create awareness of the accounting profession, donate prizes to best accounting students and awards presentation to honour its outstanding members in public and private sectors.

The ICAN week featured some many interesting segments such as Financial Literacy Walk and annual lecture titled, ‘Entrepreneurship As A Catalyst for Economic Development in Akwa Ibom State,” with the Commissioner for Lands and Water Resources, then Executive Director, Agricultural Investments Directorate, AKICORP, Pastor Umo Eno, as the speaker.

As an entrepreneur of over thirty years, he elucidated on the contributions of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) to the economy of the state, particularly in creating jobs for youths and women, contributing to the per capita income of the nation, capacity building of high quality manpower, high quality development of products and services, improved tax revenue and foreign exchange earning and financial independence.

To gain the full impact of entrepreneurship, Pastor Umo Eno said, “a well-planned and well-coordinated actions,” were needed to “bring about a high economic growth rate and development,” stressing that: “Entrepreneurs are as catalyst agent for expansion and promotion of economic activities in every sphere of economic life,” because “they are known for introducing new combinations, improving on already existing productive resources, proper utilization of resources and creation of employment opportunities.”

Quest News 24

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