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Gambian banks prepare accounts in line with int’l standards: GBA prexy

Sep 16, 2015, 12:06 PM | Article By: Abdoulie Nyockeh & Adam Jobe

Pa Macoumba Njie, President of the Gambia Bankers Association, who doubles as the Managing Director of Trust Bank Limited, has said that since 2013 all banks operating in The Gambia have been preparing their published accounts in accordance with international financial standards.

He made this statement yesterday at the Kairaba Beach Hotel, where the Gambia Bankers Association (GBA) convened a daylong training session for directors, company secretaries and other executives on International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) and the Companies Act 2013.

“This is in compliance with a directive received from the Central Bank of The Gambia,” he said, adding that in 2013, the Companies Act 2013 was issued to replace the Companies Act 1955.

“As directors and company secretaries, we are signatories to these published accounts and it is in our interest to understand the differences between the previously published accounts that were being prepared in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles, and those now being prepared under IFRS,” said the GBA president.

With the launch of the Companies Act 2013 to replace the 1955 Act, it was also important for them to know and understand what has changed, Mr Njie added.

“One of the aims and objectives of the Gambia Bankers Association is to promote continuous professional development of its members and other professionals,” he said.

It was in this vein, he noted, that they have partnered with the CFOs association to bring about the training activity, with the hope of having a better understanding of IFRS and the Companies ACT 2013.

Also speaking, Mamour Malick Jagne, executive secretary of the Gambia Bankers Association (GBA), said the association has a number of branches, one of which - an active and forward-looking body - is the Association of Chief Finance Officers.

“I believe that the seriousness with which they take their association is a reflection of their commitment to their banks and their profession,” said Mr Jagne.

He said that since the commencement of the implementation of the IFRS, they have organised a workshop on its impact, and the positive outcomes of that workshop included a series of questions and enquires addressed to the Central Bank of The Gambia.

“The IFRS and the Companies Act 2013 is not a matter of accountants only,” he said, adding that company secretaries “are very familiar with what they entail”.

In his keynote address on behalf of the Governor of the Central Bank of The Gambia (CBG), the 2nd deputy Governor, Oumie Samba Savage, said the key aim of the training course was to equip participants with skills in IFRS, and to deepen their understanding of the provisions of the Companies Act 2013.

With regards to IFRS, she noted, the Gambian authorities subjected the country to a report on standards and codes of auditing and accounting review to assess the strengths and weaknesses of auditing and accounting in The Gambia.

The deputy Governor said the resultant report revealed, among others, the following shortcomings: “The existing statutory framework comprising various legislations is inadequate, and generally outdated, and does not provide a clear direction on the applicable standards for financial reporting and auditing.

“Professional education and training is also guided by a national qualification programme; there are no standard setting arrangements, and this contributes to weaknesses in the financial reporting environment. Apart from ensuring compliance with prudential regulations, no organisation had a mechanism in place for ensuring compliance with accounting and auditing standards.

“Based on the findings, the report recommended the development of a country action plan, with specific activities to be implemented under the auspices of the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs in collaboration with all stakeholders and support from development partners, in order to strengthen the accountancy profession and build a strong financial reporting infrastructure to enhance corporation financial reporting in The Gambia.”

Mrs Savage further said that prior to the full adoption of the IFRS in The Gambia, the CBG had issued a directive that all commercial banks within The Gambia were to submit their 2013 audited accounts in accordance with IFRS.

The adoption was mainly to enhance the quality of financial reporting and boost investor confidence, she added, further stating that the CBG in consultation with World Bank consultants developed an IFRS guide, which was issued to the banking industry to aid commercial banks in the preparation of their IFRS statements for the year-ended 2013.

By end Match 2014, all commercial banks submitted their IFRS audited accounts for 2013, she said.

The challenges of IFRS “still continue” and the training workshop was a step in disseminating knowledge and common understanding for all stakeholders in the smooth implementation of IFRS in the country, she announced.

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