In her key note address at the opening ceremony of the 2019 Institute of Chartered Accountants of Malawi (ICAM) conference at Sun 'n' Sand Holiday Resort in Mangochi on Thursday evening, guest of honour High Court judge Zione Ntaba said professionalism should not only be evidenced through academic and professional papers but the output they can provide as a result of such glorious qualifications.
ICAM president Dr. Francis Chinjoka Gondwe and his deputy Phyles Kachingwe present a gift to jduge Ntaba Justice Ntaba delivering her key note address Some of the 1,000 plus delegates at the conference
Justice Ntaba said it is imperative that professionals should be the key ingredient in the equation of development in Malawi and Africa in general.
"We need great scientists. We need scientists in many faculties. We need more technology experts. We need a strong and vibrant Malawi Bureau of Standards whose seal should be a competitive edge on the international market.
"We need great minds in the manufacturing industry that will add value to the products made so that we stand tall on the face of Africa. Let it be the case that when people think of quality products and services in Africa, top on their mind should be coming Malawi," she said.
Ntaba added: "Germans have a strong grip on engineering, Singaporeans on Electronics, Mauritius is in the equation on financial services, Malawi has to be there also but we agree on what and that is what we have to answer by the end of this conference."
She continued to say professionalism captures the fact that someone has undergone intense and extensive training and qualified in a specific field of endeavour and that these words clearly also resonate with the words of former US President John F Kennedy, who said ask not what your country can do for you, rather ask what you can do for your country.
Ntaba congratulate ICAM for being a distinguished professional body that professional bodies in the country should endeavour to emulate.
She said for Malawi to prosper and grow its economy, it needs to build strong institutions including professional bodies that are strongly rooted in the rule of law.
"The Public Accountants and Auditors Act, which is to regulate the profession's conduct says sanity in the profession is paramount. The Act establishes the Malawi Accountants Board to ensure that it regulates the accountants in the country and ensure that they are registered.
"But the question is this rosy picture we are painting, what is the situation on the ground? I can bet even without any empirical evidence that there are many unregistered accountants out there posing and indeed working as accountants to the contrary of the law.
"As a legal professional, I would implore that we cannot be talking about the rule of law if ICAM and the Malawi Accountants Board are letting this conduct slide."
One highlight of the conference will be the presence of staunch Pan-Africanist, Professor Patrick Loch Otieno Lumumba from Kenya, who is expected to deliver a speech on Saturday under the theme, 'Harmonising Africa's Resources for Africa's Development: from Third World to First'.
He was joined by high profile African professionals such as Zambia Institute of Accountants CEO Bonna Kasinga; Pan African Federation of Accountants CEO Vickson Ncube and South Africa Institute of Chartered Accountants CEO Freeman Nomvalo.
Local speakers include Dr Betchani Tchereni (Dean Faculty of Commerce, The Polytechnic); Dr Thomas Chataghalala Munthali (Director General, Planning Commission); Prince Kapondamanga (Farmers Union of Malawi) and Charlotte Malonda (Competition and Fair Trading Commission of Malawi).
ICAM was established in 2014 and its role is to promote the accountancy profession in Malawi, to train accountants, to promote governance in Malawi and to enhance skills of its members by organising continued professional development (CPD) programmes among others.
The AGM, whose theme for this year is 'Repositioning for Africa's Economic Renaissance -- Malawi in the Equation', is ICAM's supreme decision making body which has 2,200 members.
The success story of ICAM since its inception is that it has grown to be a powerful and respected body which influences policy matters in Malawi to do with governance, tax policies and financial management.
ICAM was first formed as Society of Accountants in Malawi (SOCAM) and established by accountants themselves. Some of the notable names who were influential in establishing SOCAM include Mr W.B. Mwenelupembe, Mr. Ramesh Savjani, Mr. Andrew Chioko, Mr. Nkodola Uka, Mr. Simon Itaye, Mr. Bob Martin and Mrs P. Kamkwende.