Accountants to hold crucial indaba

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Letuka Chafotsa

The Lesotho Institute of Accountants (LIA) is set to host its 6th annual conference next week at the Maseru Sun Hotel.

In addition to LIA members, the conference, scheduled for 22-24 October, would also be attended by entrepreneurs, and captains of industry, among other distinguished delegates.

According to the LIA Chief Executive Officer, Likhapha ‘Malehlohonolo Mahase, the forum would be held under the theme, ‘Fraud and corruption in developing countries: the role of accountants in protecting the public interest’.

Ms Mahase said: “The conference normally coordinates various aspects, which are fundamental to the development of our country, so this year’s theme recognises this function.

“It is an important event on the LIA calendar as it helps leverage the brand of the institute since we bring together heads of various government departments, as well as captains of business entities under one roof to discuss various aspects of our economy at different levels.”

The Second Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Lesotho, ‘Mathabo Makenete, and World Bank Chief Financial Management Officer, Anthony M Hegarty, would be among the keynote speakers during the conference, Ms Mahase said.  Mr Hegarty was part of the Irish team which helped in the establishment of LIA in 1977, as well as the Centre for Accounting Studies (CAS) in 1979.

“This year’s theme focuses on the major concerns of developing countries, which are fraud and corruption. These are among the greatest obstacles to economic and social development in emerging economies.

“The harmful effects of corruption are especially severe on the poor, who are hardest hit by economic decline, most reliant on the provision of public services, and least capable of paying extra costs associated with fraud and misappropriation of economic privileges.

“Fraud and corruption represent significant additional costs of doing business in many developing countries.  The two undermine development by distorting the rule of law and weakening the institutional foundation upon which economic growth depends,” Ms Mahase said.

Ms Mahase further noted because the accounting profession plays an essential role in the country’s economic development, there would be simultaneous sessions on the importance of international reporting standards in combating fraud and corruption.

“High-quality corporate reporting is key to improving transparency, facilitating the mobilisation of domestic and international investment, creating a sound investment environment and fostering investor-confidence, thus promoting financial stability,” Ms Mahase said.

“A strong and internationally comparable reporting system facilitates international flows of financial resources while at the same time, helping to reduce corruption and mismanagement of resources.

“Corruption and fraud damage policies and programmes that seek to reduce poverty, so eradicating this scourge is critical to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). {The eight MDGs,  which range from halving extreme poverty rates to halting the spread of HIV/AIDS and providing universal primary education, all by the target date of 2015, form a blueprint agreed to by all the world’s countries and all the world’s leading development institutions.}

“Countering fraud and corruption is therefore aligned with MDGs’ overarching mission to promote sustainable private sector investment in developing countries, to help reduce poverty and improve people’s lives.

“Broadly speaking, from a microeconomic point of view, accounting standards encompass mechanisms for providing information about the financial condition and performance and importantly, the risk profile of firms, to all potential users. It therefore, constitutes one of the core elements of the financial infrastructure.”

Meanwhile, LIA members would be an inauguration of a new president and the LIA council at the end of the conference.

 

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