Pailles, Mauritius/London. Ethiopia’s government has passed a law late last year to establish the country’s National Accountants and Auditors Board (NAAB) in an effort to revive the national profession which has stayed dormant for decades, The Accountant has learnt.

When Emperor Haile Selassie’s reign came to an end on 12 September 1974, Ethiopia adopted a socialist system and as such the economy was nationalised. Accounting firms closed their offices and the Ethiopian Professional Association of Accountants and Auditors (EPAAA) went dormant.

Since the mid noughties, Ethiopia’s government has worked to reopen the economy to the private sector in a bid to attract foreign direct investments to fuel the country’s development.

In their effort the government has recognised that a strong national accountancy profession was a prerequisite to give assurance to foreign investors that Ethiopia is a sound investing destination, Ethiopian delegates at the African Congress of Accountant (ACOA15) told The Accountant.

To that effect the government passed in November 2014 a law setting up the NAAB as well as mandating the transfer of regulatory powers over the accountancy profession from the office of the auditor general to the NAAB.

As such the NAAB’s role will be to issue certificates and accreditations for audit and accountancy firms, while observing the quality and the standards of financial reporting in the country.

Ethiopian representatives at ACOA15 told The Accountant they saw this latest development as the first step to the rise of the accountancy profession in Ethiopia.

Today the accountancy profession is represented in three bodies in Ethiopia: the Ethiopian Professional Association of Accountants and Auditors (EPAAA), the Institute for Certifying Accountants and Auditors (ICAA) which is dependent of the Ethiopian Civil Service College (ECSC).

Professionals in Ethiopia aim at uniting all accountancy related matters, from standards setting to formation and certification of professionals into one strong national Professional Accountancy Organisation (PAO).

Ultimately Ethiopian professionals want the newly formed PAO to gain regulatory powers over its members with the NAAB reverting to a simple oversight role, The Accountant has learnt.

None of the three Ethiopian bodies are full member, associate or affiliate of the International Federation of Accountants. EPAA is a member of the Pan African Federation of Accountants.

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