Parliament on Wednesday passed the Public Accounts and Auditors bill which seeks to replace the Public Accountants and Auditors Act of 1982.
Minister of Finance, Dr. Ken Lipenga, said the bill seeks to repeal the Public Accountants and Auditors Act of 1982 and introduce a new legislation that will reform the regulation and control of the accountancy profession in the country.
“As you might be aware, the main enabling legislation of the accountancy profession in Malawi has been the Public Accountants and Auditors Act of 1982 and since then there has not been any body representing accountants and auditors in the country and this bill will allow the establishment of Malawi accountants board”, Lipenga explained.
And making his contributions to the bill, United Democratic Front spokesperson Dr. Clement Chiwaya said the bill is of great importance as it will allow the country to have its own regulatory accountancy board which will also be administering accountancy exams to people in the country thereby saving foreign exchange that is used in paying exam fees abroad.
“Currently the country relies on foreign accountancy professional bodies to administer exams, and this bill will ease the problems that students encounter when processing their exams and other things and more importantly saving enough foreign exchange that is paid as fees to professional bodies abroad,” said Chiwaya.
The bill among other things seeks to abolish the Public Accountants Examinations Council (PAEC) and form a new body to be known as the institute of chartered accountants of Malawi (ICAM).
According to the finance minister the restructuring will provide for a stronger Government regulation with a mechanism to oversee the activities of the profession, National qualification of accounts profession as there will be a removal of dual membership of foreign accountancy bodies and corruption fight since the profession is a strong gate keeper in the fight against corruption and money laundering.
Zimbabwe and South Africa are some of the countries in the southern part of Africa that have localized their accountancy bodies.