Sunday, April 15, 2012

On Harmonization Of Accounting, Financial Reporting

A regional workshop on the Harmonization of accounting and financial reporting for Banks and other  Credit Financial Institutions in ECOWAS on 2nd of April 2012, opened at Kairaba Beach Hotel. In his statement, the Director General of the West African Monetary Agency(WAMA),Professor Mohamed Ben Omar Ndiaye said that transparency, accounting and Public confidence both at the local and the international level in the Banking system is critical for the economic and monetary integration process in the sub region.
The workshop, he said, is part of the recommendations of the 40th WAMA statutory meeting of the Committee of Governors of Central Banks of ECOWAS member states which was held in Conakry in  July 2011 and that WAMA was enjoined to draw on the expertise of the central banks in order to carry out its single currency road map assignments under the economic and monetary integration project of ECOWAS. 
The overall objective of the workshop, he stated, is to propose a harmonized accounting and financial reporting framework for banks and other credit institutions in West  Africa  aimed at ensuring compliance with International Financial Reporting  Standards (IFRS).

This, he said, could be achieved through taking stock of the existing Accounting and Financial reporting framework for banks and other Credit institutions in ECOWAS; to identify areas of differences in the accounting and financial reporting framework; to recommend common/harmonized reporting for adoption by ECOWAS and to develop a guide defining the way forward for the achievement of an effective harmonized framework in line with the IFRS.
Prof. Ndiaye told the participants that he would like them to thoroughly review the current state of affairs at the national and regional levels and propose realistic draft that would be appropriate to the context of the sub-region in order to enable them to move forward with this project, and that he would also like to encourage them to draw from the experiences in terms of the successful implementation of IFRS at some national level.
This workshop, he believed, would enable significant progress to be made in the process of harmonizing accounting and financial reporting for banks and other credit financial institutions in ECOWAS.
The First  Deputy Governor of Central Bank of  The Gambia, Mr. Basiru Njai, stepping in for Governor Amadou Colley, said that the regional workshop on ‘Harmonization of Accounting and Financial Reporting for Banks and other Credit Institutions in ECOWAS’ is important.
Njai told participants that the regional workshop is in line with the recent directive of the Committee of Governors, during its  fortieth ordinary meeting held in Conakry, Guinea in  July 2011.
The Committee of Governors upheld the recommendation of the Technical Committee that the various activities assigned to WAMA under the single currency roadmap project s hould be implemented, he informed them.
Njai also spoke at length on the objectives of this workshop in the Gambia, saying the participants were brought together to discuss on how to achieve harmonization of Accounting and Financial Reporting Framework for banks and other credit institutions in ECOWAS for the proposed ECOWAS Monetary Union.
He reiterated the importance of the harmonization of the Banking and Financial system under the ECOWAS Monetary Cooperation Programme, reasoning that its attainment will not only ensure transparency in the financial system but also help increase public confidence in the sector at both the local and international level.
Central banks, the CBG senior official noted,  supervise commercial banks and other credit institutions under their jurisdiction, and that one of the key requirements to measure the efficiency and compliance to the banking laws is the reports on accounting and financial status as stipulated by the Banking Act, Corporate laws and The Prudential Guidelines for Banks.
Across the ECOWAS region, as Njai observed, a deliberate and a concerted effort had been made to migrate to the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS), while  some member countries have successfully migrated to the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS).
In addition, banks and other credit institutions in these countries  have complied with IFRS, while others are in the process of doing so, and are in the various stages of its implementation.
On home front, he said the Central Bank of The Gambia adopted International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) as a framework of accounting in the preparation and presentation of its financial statements with effect from the year ending 31st December 2008 at the earliest and at the latest by the year ending 31st December.

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