ECWA Stakeholders Restate Zero Tolerance for Fraud
By Ralph Madugu
Cost optimization in times of economic recession as well as effective strategies for promoting zero tolerance for fraud dominated discussions at a one day internal stakeholder’s forum against fraud in the Church organized by ECWA which drew participants from across its institutions, DCCs, departments, had ECWA executives in attendance and featured paper presentations as well as question and answer sessions.
In his opening address, ECWA President, Rev. Dr. Jeremiah Gado, described the theme of this years’ forum, “Cost Optimization in times of economic recession-an effective strategy for promoting zero Tolerance for Fraud in ECWA”, as timely as, according to him, there was no better time than now to optimize cost in the daily management of the lean resources at the disposal of the Church, adding that when such cost is optimized, leaders will be in a better position to teach followers to do likewise.
He said, “The Bible says, go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise! It has no commander, no overseer or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest.”
He urged participants to ensure cost optimization and control personal expenses, budget and plan well before spending, avoid being wasteful and desist from buying things that are not essential.
In a keynote address, ECWA General Secretary, Rev. Yunusa S.Nmadu, posited that it takes discipline and sacrifice to optimize cost during economic recession, adding that when that is successfully done, the benefits are unquantifiable.
His words: “It takes discipline and great sacrifices on your parts to optimize costs during this time of economic recession. But when you do that, the benefits are legion. And when you do it and succeed, those who are closely watching you and following you from behind will follow your good examples. Eventually, when we discipline ourselves to optimize costs in whatever we are doing, it could serve as effective strategy for promoting zero tolerance for fraud in our organization.”
To achieve cost optimization, Rev. Nmadu stated that, in order to achieve cost optimization, there should be prioritization of needs, honesty and sincerity, market survey and cooperation with auditors and added, “Generally speaking, human beings are insatiable. The only remedy for a discipline, prudent and contented life is for one to recognize his or her unique position as a child of God. When our bodies continue to crave for possessions and more possessions, we must pause to brutally confront ourselves concerning the end results of an unending desire for monetary or material possession and acquisitions.”
In his presentation on the topic “Cost optimization in times of Economic Recession-An effective strategy for promoting zero-tolerance for Fraud in ECWA”, the Church Treasurer, Dr. Kalu Umeh, said it is no longer news that the Nigerian economy is in a recession hence cost optimization has become a handy tool, describing it as a “business-focused continuous discipline to drive spending and cost reduction, while maximizing business value.”
He asserted that for cost optimization to be successful, individuals must be honest and sincere in their dealings, saying that working capital management, operational efficiency, procurement and supply chain are some of the key levers to cost management.
He said that the benefits a structured approach to cost optimization improves cash flows position, balance sheet, performance and generates efficiencies around production.
In another presentation on “Internalizing the Core Idea of Cost Optimization in ECWA Entities”, ECWA Director of Audit, Solomon Edokpa, disclosed that the process requires the full backing and leading by example on the part of leaders.
Describing internalizing cost optimization as a “well-crafted and time tested internal governance manual which gives premium to good corporate governance and full disclosure,” he added that it is about shifting employee’s mentality to treating company resources like their own.
He emphasized, “It is trusting employees and empowering them with the right tools, information and reward systems so that they take the right actions on their own. Cost optimization leads to optimization of value accruing to the organization as management and employees treat company money with the same respect for personal money.”