Senate moves to enhance ICAN’s powers, professional integrity


The Senate  Wednesday started legislative process to strengthen the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria, ICAN, expand its structure, and enhance its  regulatory powers and professional integrity.

To this effect, the Red Chamber  passed for second reading ,  a bill for an act

to amend the ICAN Act Cap 15, 1965 and for related matters, sponsored by Senator Solomon Olamileksn Adeola (APC Ogun West) .

Senator Adeola in his lead debate on the bill, said the ICAN Act, which came into effect on September 1, 1965 empowered the Institute to set standards and regulate the practice of accountancy in Nigeria. 

“In line with the dynamics of the environment, developments in the economy and changing needs of chartered accountants over the years, it has become imperative to amend certain provisions of this Act as well as insert new provisions to bring the Act up to current realities and ensure that ICAN remains adaptive, forward-thinking, and attuned to the needs of our nation”, he said.

He stated that  a total of 26 amendments/insertions are contained in the proposed amendment of the Act affecting its sections and subsections as well as the Schedules.

He added that  there is  a need to situate accounting practice to encompass developments since 1965 and to bring the practice to what obtains in other jurisdictions, hence the need to amend Section 1,14, 19 and inserting a new section 15, all of which deals with issues of accounting practice and all areas that a chartered accountant is entitled to practice under the Act.

While pointing out that corporate governance of modern professional accountancy organizations has evolved, he further stressed the need to amend parts of Sections 2, 3 and 6 and inserting new Sections 24 to 26. 

He said, “Section 3 of the Act is proposed for amendment because the Council of ICAN started off with a twenty-member structure in 1965 when membership was just 250. The number was increased to twenty-five subsequently in accordance with the provisions of the Act. 

“With membership strength of over 53,000 today, the need to increase the membership of the Council to 36 has become compelling.

“Additionally, this amendment aims to strengthen ICAN’s collaboration with other professional bodies and regulatory authorities, both at home and abroad. Such collaborations will foster synergy, knowledge exchange, and harmonization of standards, guaranteeing that Nigerian chartered accountants remain at par with global best practices and their global counterparts”.

He further  emphasized the need to enhance the capacity of the Institute to carry out its mandate in the area of regulation and compliance, which according to him,  necessitated the need to amend sections 7, 8,11,12, 16, 18, 20 and 21. 

“A glaring example for amendment is Section 18(5). In the 59 years old Act, a proven infraction on summary conviction of any of the offenses attracts a paltry N100 fine while a conviction on indictment attracts only a fine of N1,000. 

“You will agree with me that these sanctions for offenses that could lead to loss of millions or billions of naira, is not a deterrent to malpractices,” he stressed.

In his remarks, the Senate President, Senator Godswill Akpabio commended the sponsor of the bill, noting that about 50,000 Nigerians are seeking to be members of the Institute.

He later referred the bill to the Committee on Establishment for further legislative process and report back within three weeks.