The Managing Director of Ecobank Nigeria, Charles Kie, has called on audit executives of banks to the take advantage of their independence and unfettered access to their respective boards and management, and industry sector regulators to showcase their potentials and competencies.
He also charged them to entrench a sound and wholesome governance environment in banks to stem potential bank failure with their strategic role in instituting sound corporate governance culture.
Kie, who gave this advice while presenting a paper titled: “The Role of Audit in Promoting Good Corporate Governance in the Financial Services Industry”, at the 39th quarterly general meeting of the association of Chief Audit Executives of Banks in Nigeria (ACAEBIN), observed that the recent warning by Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) that another bank failure is imminent in the country on the back of weak corporate governance culture and weak internal control must be taken seriously.
He pointed out that the last two decades have been eventful in terms of changes in the corporate governance landscape.
According to him, abuses at the executive suites and governance failures have led to unprecedented changes in regulatory frameworks and how businesses are controlled and directed locally and globally.
“The expectations are high and you must justify the confidence reposed on you by investors and other stakeholders.
“The social cost of banking crisis is difficult to estimate, but the public funds used to bail out distressed banks run into billions of naira. The time to act is now,” he said.
The bank chief observed that internal auditors are increasingly being criticised for their effectiveness in instilling a proper control and governance environment, urging them to stand up and be counted on the side of integrity and professionalism.
Earlier, Chairman of the association, Yinka Tiamiyu, restated the readiness of the auditors to continue to enhance corporate governance in the banks to make the industry safer.