Stakeholders Seek Standards for Financial Services in Africa

  • Written by  Modupe Gbadeyanka

Stakeholders in the financial services industry in Nigeria have commenced participation in the development of African standards for financial services under the auspices of the African Organization for Standardization (ARSO).

Welcoming members of the National Mirror Committee of the ARSO Technical Harmonization Committee on Good Financial Grant Practice (GFGP) (ARSO THC 12-2) to a meeting at the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) corporate headquarters in Abuja, the Director General, Mr Osita Aboloma, stated that the establishment of the THC 12-2 further emphasizes the importance of standards in every facet of human existence.

This, according to him, also re-emphasizes the relevance of SON’s mandate in establishing benchmarks in the form of standards for all aspects of the social and economic life of Nigerians.

Represented by the Head of International Standards, Mr Dauda Yakubu, the SON Chief Executive clarified that the financial services standards are being developed to support and manage the quality of services being offered in the financial services sector and ensure that they meet global best practices as well as the needs of the customers, continually.

The meeting, he said, was called to broaden the scope of participation of stakeholders in the sector as well as articulate Nigeria’s position towards deliberation on the harmonized draft of the GFGP standard towards the second meeting of the ARSO THC scheduled for Nairobi, Kenya. Members of the National Mirror committee were encouraged to join the Nigerian delegation to the ARSO meeting to advance the National position.

Mr Aboloma enumerated that more meetings and calls for comments will follow and urged the committee members to ensure active participation until the African standard on GFGP is concluded, published and adopted as Nigeria Industrial Standard.

In her address, the SON Acting Director, Standards Mrs Chinyere Egwuonwu, explained that National Mirror Committees are set up to replicate the activities of regional, continental or international standards development to ensure that stakeholders are carried along in the standards development process.

Mrs Egwuonwu reminded the committee members of the global principles of standardization as including; transparency, openness, impartiality, consensus, efficiency, relevance and consistency stressing that the GFGP standard will be voluntary and for certification of systems for optimal benefit.

Presenting an overview of the GFGP Standard, SON Head of Finance and Accounts, Mr David Okon enumerated the benefits as including to minimize the risk of corruption, bribery and fraud; increase grantors confidence in funding grantees; minimize the multifarious audits usually encountered by grantees from grant agencies; reduce administrative cost and time for both grantors and grantees; and increase the confidence of donor agencies to fund grantees directly.

Chairman of the National Mirror Committee is Dr Arome Salisu of African Youth Growth Foundation while participants at the meeting included representatives of the professional Associations, Nigerian Accounting Standards Board, Banking and Insurance Companies, Federal Inland Revenue Service, Offices of the Accountant General and Auditor General of the Federation, the Federal Ministries of Finance as well as Budget and Planning, the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) among others.

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