The Financial Reporting Council (FRC) said it had designed an accounting system for churches, mosques and other not-for-profit organisations, adding that it will compel them to report their financial transactions periodically from January 2013.
Executive Secretary/Chief Executive Officer, FRC, Mr. Jim Osayande Obazee, who said this in a keynote address presented at the 2012 annual conference of the Finance Correspondents Association of Nigeria (FICAN) held in Ijebu-Ode at the weekend, explained that the move was to ensure that more Nigerians are dragged into the corporate tax net. This, according to the FRC boss, is also in line with the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS).
This came just as the Director, Corporate Communications, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Ugochukwu Okoroafor disclosed that in addition to FSDH Securities Limited which on Friday announced that it has gotten a license to operate as a merchant bank, a South African bank – Rand Merchant Bank, has also been granted a merchant banking license to operate in Nigeria.
Continuing, Obazee said: “We want to release our Statement of Accounting Standards (SAS) 32 because we want churches and charities to begin to present accounts. They just file returns to the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) and so long as they pay the N1000, they are home and dry. But we are saying that they must report their financial transactions in proper format.
“Also, once charity organisations engage in non-charity activities, they would have to submit those goods for taxable purposes. A country is not run by oil, but by tax. Go to the internet and you see all the branches of the Redeemed Christian Church in United Kingdom, you will see their accounts and over there, they fully disclose the amount collected as a church. But in our own, people are asking me: “Jim, do you want God to render account.”
He also stressed the need for an independent supervisory body, to regulate the activities of manufacturing companies in the country, in order to forestall another crisis in the economy. “The fact that nobody is regulating manufacturing companies is completely wrong.
"We believe that banks take deposit, but we are forgotten the fact that if we go to Guinness, Nigerian Breweries, Lafarge, Dangote, even Chivita, they all take depositors. They tell you that for you to take products from them you have to take deposit and all these deposits become their working capital, which is interest free. So, if we are concentrating on just banks because we believe others are not taking deposits, then the entire system is not protected.
“Excessive credit growth can emerge anywhere in the system and impinge on the entire system. In the United States, the finger was pointed at unregulated mortgage brokers. Nigeria too has unregulated areas. For instance, non-bank finance companies, manufacturing companies and oil companies are lightly regulated.
“By ignoring these links, and by overburdening the regulated banking system, we risk driving more and more activity into the lightly regulated areas. We have forgotten so quickly that we had the now Unilever (with stock), Cadbury (with stock and Goodwill), well after we had Apha Merchant bank (with paper profits).”
He insisted that in order to achieve political stability in the country, there was need to draw more of the poor into the growth process through financial inclusion. According to him, nearly 75 per cent of the credit obtained by households that are below median income is from informal sources.
Commenting further on the activities of the merchant banks, Okoroafor said: “That is a huge signal of international interest in our market and we believe that early next year, they will commence operations in Nigeria. There are several other interests from international in Nigeria. We have also converted the license of FSDH Securities Limited to that of a Merchant Bank.
“These merchant banks are more like investment banks. They are going to be the ones that would help make projects bankable, like infrastructure. They are also going to assist in ensuring that more companies are taken to the capital market.”