Infrastructure gaps reflect ‘lack of leadership’ 

5 Jul 19

Lack of political leadership has been cited by accountants as a major obstacle to meeting infrastructure needs around the world.

In a global survey of best practice in the effort to help governments close infrastructure gaps, 52% of respondents cited the absence of political leadership as the main problem.

Lack of finance was cited by 49% of those asked by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants and Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada, while 40% said it was down to planning and regulatory barriers.

“Infrastructure is the foundation on which our social and economic well-being is built,” Alex Metcalfe, ACCA’s head of public sector policy, told International Accounting Bulletin.

“All around the world – national, regional and local governments make decisions that serve the public and play a critical role in building and maintaining important infrastructure investments. 

“Forces such as demographics, rising cyber threats, urbanisation and climate change are all increasing the global demand for quality infrastructure.”

According to the report, economic analysis shows that the global infrastructure investment gap is set to grow to $14 trillion by 2040 – a figure that sets the benchmark for meeting the world’s infrastructure needs. 

Top performers such as Singapore, Japan and Canada, exemplify good practice, while countries such as Mexico, Myanmar and Brazil are facing substantial and growing gaps.

ACCA and CPA Canada argue that accountants must be put at the centre of the decision-making process because in many cases the skills and perspectives of finance professionals can make the difference between success and failure.

They say accountants can bring international best practice to all areas of a project by, for example, determining the need for, and priority of, a project; avoiding “fiscal illusions”; and implementing proper oversight.

The report makes 20 key recommendations to close the infrastructure gap based on best practice including measures to empower public servants to challenge unethical behaviour and practices that can disrupt infrastructure projects.

  • Gavin O'Toole, expert on Latin America
    Gavin O'Toole

    A freelance journalist. He has written six books about Latin America and taught the politics of the region at Queen Mary, University of London.

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