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Nigeria’s leading health tech innovators and their founders 

If there is one thing the recent pandemic has achieved, it has drawn attention to the deficits in the Nigerian healthcare sector.

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Nigeria's Health tech innovations and their founders 

If there is one thing the recent pandemic has revealed, it’s that Nigeria’s healthcare sector is in dire need of an intervention. The healthcare sector’s challenges and opportunities are well documented. However, it has been largely ignored by the government, despite its significance to economic growth and wealth creation.

The recent coronavirus pandemic has brought this matter to the fore, with government scrambling to curtail an escalating situation. There are challenges with logistics, technology, hospitals, and quarantine centers, finding enough healthcare workers, and more importantly, carrying out testing at a scale. The shortcomings of the government are laid bare for all to see.

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Conversely, there have been several private-sector innovators, albeit on a small scale, doing their bit to solve the myriad of challenges facing the industry. These are young and energetic disruptive innovators leveraging on technology to improve healthcare delivery in the country.

On this week’s Founders Profile, we profile some of these young innovators and entrepreneurs who are disrupting the health care sector in Nigeria. Despite being upstarts, they are perhaps laying the foundation for what a vibrant private sector driven health care sector should be. All that is required is adequate funding and government support via market-friendly policies.

READ ALSO: Flying Doctors Nigeria gets accredited by International Assistance Group   

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Michael Osahon- Founder, Meditell

If you are the kind of person who forgets to take medications when due, then Meditell is for you.

Meditell is a robust, user-friendly platform which schedules reminders for patients and their caregivers, to ensure adherence to medication schedules. By using mobile phones. ‘Meditext’ and ‘Medicall’ set reminders for drug administration.

Straight out of NYSC, where he served as a secondary school teacher in Ijebu-Ode, Michael Osahon founded Meditell. He is a computer science graduate from Covenant University. Besides Meditell, Osahon has employed his product development skills to develop business applications for Stanbic IBTC Pension Managers and GTBank.

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Among other things, he is a Senior Software Engineer with Ernst and Young.

(READ MORE: Focus on private sector response to COVID-19 pandemic in Africa)


Vivian Nwakah- Founder/CEO, Medsaf

Nigeria's leading health tech innovators and their founders 

Vivian Nwakah- Founder/CEO, Medsaf

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Many people have died from consuming fake or substandard drugs. But how do medical institutions decipher the right sources for quality medications at fair prices?

Medsaf aims to give hospitals, clinics, and pharmacies access to high-quality medication from manufacturers at affordable costs, thereby reducing incidences of complications arising from fake or substandard drugs administered to patients. It is supposed to serve as a one-stop-shop for safe medications in Africa, helping health facilities to buy authentic drugs with ease.

At that point, Vivian decided that a solution was needed. There had to be a way to ensure that health facilities managed their supplied inventories and purchased products from reputable global sources and production companies.

CEO and founder of Medsaf, Vivian Nwakah, was born and raised in the United States of America, though she schooled in other countries including Paris and China. She once recounted how she conceived the idea of Medsaf after losing her friend to fake medications during a 3-month internship in Nigeria.

“It was a moment of great sadness but I was also filled with shame. I was coming from the U.S where I was born and raised, and I had worked in healthcare agencies. There, it was about keeping elderly patients, even in their 80s and 90s alive with quality healthcare, but here, someone my age had died due to fake malaria pill,” she recalled.

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Oddly, from her research, she got to understand that global manufacturers were afraid of sending their products to Nigeria because they did not want their brands compromised by counterfeits. This reluctance on their part gave counterfeit producers a lot of room to operate.

Vivian stayed back after her internship, determined to solve this problem. She quit her job in 2016 and pooled her savings. In January 2017, Medsaf was launched.

Medsaf stands as a middleman, verifying producers and manufacturers before listing their medications, and also verifying health facilities before allowing them to make any purchase. This ensures protection from both ends, leaving the end consumer better for it.

(READ MORE:  All Tech Companies eventually became Fintechs- Google to launch new debit card)


Olaniyi Ralph- Founder GenRx

Olaniyi Ralph was still a 400 level pharmacy student at the Obafemi Awolowo University in 2014 when he had an epiphany. Having learned the devastating results of wrong drug combinations, interactions, and consumption of expired drugs, he designed an app, GenRx, which had the ability to detect and alert pharmacy owners about drugs nearing their expiration dates, drugs about to be sold in overdose, and wrong drug combinations.

He went on to co-found AGC Nigeria which became the platform to launch GenRx – a POS application designed to help pharmacies and hospitals manage their drug inventories and accounts.

This all-in-one software thus improves efficiency in sales processing and safety in dispensing medications. It also automatically calculates customers’ payments and balances, keeps daily records of items sold, salespersons on duty, and manages product reorders, ensuring that they do not run out of stock.

Over time, it has been improved to manage salaries and expenditures, and generate profit and loss statements of accounts. It now possesses an in-built calculator with three memory banks that can be used during on-going transactions. It can be configured to suit any pharmacy’s needs.

(READ MORE: Surviving the looming recession in the Nigerian tech space)


Temie Giwa-Tubosun, Founder of Lifebank 

Nigeria's leading health tech innovators and their founders 

Temie Giwa-Tubosun, Founder of Lifebank

LifeBank was started in May 2012 as One Percent Project or One Percent Blood Donation Enlightenment Foundation. The target was to end blood shortage in Nigeria by enlightening people on the importance to overcome their fears, prejudices, and myths, and donate blood for anyone in need.  

In 2016, it became Lifebank, a business set up to improve access to blood transfusions in Nigeria. A personal experience during her first child-birth drove her to build this dream, so that people would no longer have to suffer complications from delayed blood donations. 

Since then, Lifebank has helped deliver hundreds of thousand of pints of blood to patients in Nigeria, and has now extended to other medical products like oxygen, vaccines, and blood products. 

Tubosun is a graduate fellow from the World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland, and also a fellow with the Global Health Corps.  

She had carried out millennium village projects in rural areas in Africa, under the United Nations Development Programme and Millennium Promise, and also worked briefly with Fairview Health Services in Minnesota, after graduating from Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey. 

In 2019, Lifebank took home the first annual prize of $250,000 cash prize from the Jack Ma owned Africa Netpreneur Prize Initiative (ANPI) 

 


Adeloye Olanrewaju- Founder of Safermom & Babymigo

Adeloye has a Bachelor’s degree in Human physiology from the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology. He was observing the one-year compulsory national service in 2015 at the Ekiti State Primary Healthcare Board when he noticed a problem he had first seen during his internship.

Nigeria's leading health tech innovators and their founders 

Adeloye Olanrewaju receives award from Queen of England

“I realized mothers and babies weren’t getting the psychological, social, and mental support they needed. Nigeria presently contributes 13-15% of global maternal and child deaths yearly. Out of the 7.2 million birth rates recorded yearly (Unicef 2014 Estimate), we lose 260,000 newborns annually. Unfortunately, most cases are preventable when there’s increased access to basic health services,” he later explained.

Safermom was developed as a mobile service for pregnant and nursing mothers of 0-3-year old babies, to access health information and make informed health decisions. This is achieved through voice calls, mobile SMS, helplines, and a mobile app. It also helps mothers track milestones in pregnancy and nursing, including vaccination dates, and shares prevention tips, and home remedies. Mothers can also dial a short code to access vital health information, government schemes, and important announcements in their local languages, and request tricycles or ambulances.

This innovation earned Adeloye an award from Her Majesty, the Queen of England at Buckingham Palace for his works in improving mother and child health in Sub-Sahara Africa. He’s also a St Gallen Leader of Tomorrow, TEEP fellow, International Action Youth Net fellow, and Leap Africa Social Innovator fellow, among others.

In 2015, SaferMom was listed among the top 6 startups in Africa, scooping $50,000 USD in the Impact category of Facebook’s Internet.org competition.

Two years after, Adeloye launched Babymigo, a community for the new generation of young parents to find trusted information in local African contexts, get their questions answered, and connect with nearby moms and experts.

(READ MORE: Tech Roundup S02E16)


Adereti Francis- Founder Redbank 

In a country where countless lives have been lost due to the non-availability of blood, the importance of Redbank can hardly be exaggerated.

Adereti Francis, Founder Redbank

Adereti Francis (Business Lead and developer) founded Redbank, a startup that connects hospitals and patients to the nearest blood banks, in 2014. He had support from co-founders, Adeyanju Toluwanimi (Operations Lead), and Ojediran Tunde (Technical Lead). The goal, they said, was to save more lives by helping Nigerians find blood fast and safely.

Francis Adereti got his first degree in Electrical and Electronics Engineering from Obafemi Awolowo University and later obtained an MBA from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. His work experience cuts across Huawei Technologies, iQube labs, and Microsoft, among others.

This varied experience geared him towards product innovation, product management, business operations, and strategy, all of which came in handy when Redbank was founded.

Redbank has a network of blood banks and hospitals on its radar, helping patients and their families to find the needed blood types closest to their locations, within a short time. Compared to the traditional way of calling several blood banks to find a match, this is a great leap, which has saved the lives of people in emergencies such as accidents, surgeries, and childbirth.

To ensure that all levels of Nigerians are catered to, they have phone lines and SMS services so that people who do not have access to the internet can still reach them.

(READ MORE: Tech group suspends Crowdfunded relief to Nigerians)

Talk about a problem that solves it all!

Redbank also harmonised the databases of hospitals and health clinics, especially those whose records are still in the ‘paper era.’

The target is to build a donor database so that proper records can prevent people from donating when they are not eligible to make donations, and save their lives with these ‘electronic reminders.’ It also has outreaches on several media to recruit more donors and ensure an adequate supply of all blood groups.


Charles Onu- Founder, Ubenwa

If you were told that a baby’s cries could communicate as clearly as words, your first reaction might have been, “Impossible!” but not anymore.

Health tech innovations and their founders 

Charles Onu- Founder, Ubenwa

Ubenwa, literally translated, means baby’s cry in Igbo language. It is an application that captures a baby’s cry, translates it and makes a prognosis on what the problem could be. The result could be as simple as hunger, sleep, pain, or an early symptom of a life-long disability such as cerebral palsy, deafness, and paralysis. Even birth asphyxia, which is the third-highest cause of infant mortality, can be detected early enough to prevent any damage to the child’s brain or infant death.

Ultimately, the aim is to provide optimal care for babies and address early health challenges within the first two years of a child’s life. But how accurate can this be?

According to Onu, the Artificial Intelligence solution app has achieved over 95% prediction accuracy in trials with nearly 1,400 pre-recorded baby cries.

This innovation has won several awards, including the WHO Top 30 Africa Health Innovators in March 2019. 

Charles has a Bachelor’s degree in Electronic and Computer Engineering, and MSc and Ph.D. in Computer Science – Machine Learning from McGill University. He is a fellow of the Jeanne Sauvé Foundation 

(READ MORE: TechRoundUp Season 2 Episode 15)


Ola Orekunrin Brown- Founder, Flying Doctors Nigeria

Ola Orekunrin, is a medical doctor and helicopter pilot. She started the Flying Doctors Nigeria (FDN) as a young 21-year-old graduate.

Health tech innovations and their founders 

Dr. Ola Orekunrin Brown, Founder of Flying Doctors Nigeria

Just like Nwakah’s Medsafe, FDN was spurred by personal experience, when Ola lost her younger sister due to a delay in finding an air ambulance service in Nigeria. Similarly, Ola was born and bred out of the shores of Nigeria, in the United Kindom to be precise, though she occasionally visited relatives in the country.

FDN is a medical emergency service that specialises in making air ambulance services, medico-logistics services, remote site medical solutions services, medical infrastructural development, and medical training services available in critical areas of need.

Flying Doctors is the first ambulance company in West Africa and boasts of 20 charter aircraft in good condition, with services that are cheaper than ground ambulance services.

Ola has, since then, taken certificate courses in Accounting and Economics at IESE and the University of Michigan respectively, to help her better manage the FDN. She has also obtained an MSc in Finance and Economic Policy.


Hote: Are there any notable names we may have missed? Kindly send an email to the author or to [email protected] Also feel free to drop a comment.

Patricia

Ruth Okwumbu has a MSc. and BSc. in Mass Communication from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, and Delta state university respectively. Prior to her role as analyst at Nairametrics, she had a progressive six year writing career. As a Business Analyst with Narametrics, she focuses on profiles of top business executives, founders, startups and the drama surrounding their successes and challenges. You may contact her via [email protected]

3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. Anonymous

    May 12, 2020 at 12:59 pm

    Where is the best MEDCERA?

  2. Victor

    May 12, 2020 at 1:02 pm

    MEDCERA?

  3. Ramat

    May 14, 2020 at 9:59 am

    Where is 54 Gene? They are at the forefront of the COVID-19 response, providing laboratories for testing.

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Coronavirus

COVID-19 Update in Nigeria

On the 6th of July 2020, 575 new confirmed cases and 9 deaths were recorded in Nigeria bringing the total confirmed cases recorded in the country to 29,286.

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The spread of novel Corona Virus Disease (COVID-19) in Nigeria continue to record significant increase as the latest statistics provided by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control reveal Nigeria now has 29,286 confirmed cases.

On the 6th of July 2020, 575 new confirmed cases and 9 deaths were recorded in Nigeria, having carried out a total daily test of 1,831 samples across the country.

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To date, 29,286 cases have been confirmed, 11,828 cases have been discharged and 654 deaths have been recorded in 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory. A total of 152,952 tests have been carried out as of July 6th, 2020 compared to 151,121 tests a day earlier.

COVID-19 Case Updates- 6th July 2020

  • Total Number of Cases – 29,286
  • Total Number Discharged – 11,828
  • Total Deaths – 654
  • Total Tests Carried out – 152,952

According to the NCDC, the 575 new cases were reported from 20 states- Lagos (123), FCT (100), Delta (58), Edo (52), Ogun (42), Katsina (24), Bayelsa (23), Rivers (22), Borno (19), Plateau (18), Ondo (18), Oyo (17), Kwara (15), Osun (13), Enugu (9), Nasarawa  (7), Abia (6), Cross River (5), Kaduna (3), Ekiti (1).

Meanwhile, the latest numbers bring Lagos state total confirmed cases to 11,367, followed by Abuja (2,281), Oyo (1,530), Edo (1,435), Delta (1,285), Kano (1,268), Rivers (1,205), Ogun (1,047),  Kaduna (868), Katsina (628), Borno (547), Gombe (520), Bauchi (516), Ebonyi (503), Ondo (474), Plateau (454), Abia (391), Enugu (381), Imo (352), Jigawa (318).

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Kwara state has recorded 284 cases, Bayelsa (268), Nasarawa (232), Osun (178), Sokoto (153),  Niger (122), Akwa Ibom (112), Adamawa (99), Benue (97), Kebbi (84), Zamfara (76), Anambra (73), Yobe (61), Ekiti (45), Taraba (22), while Kogi state has recorded 5 cases.

 

READ ALSO: COVID-19: Western diplomats warn of disease explosion, poor handling by government

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Lock Down and Curfew

In a move to combat the spread of the pandemic disease, President Muhammadu Buhari directed the cessation of all movements in Lagos and the FCT for an initial period of 14 days, which took effect from 11 pm on Monday, 30th March 2020.

The movement restriction, which was extended by another two-weeks period, has been partially put on hold with some businesses commencing operations from May 4. On April 27th, 2020, Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari declared an overnight curfew from 8 pm to 6 am across the country, as part of new measures to contain the spread of the COVID-19. This comes along with the phased and gradual easing of lockdown measures in FCT, Lagos, and Ogun States, which took effect from Saturday, 2nd May 2020, at 9 am.

On Monday, 29th June 2020 the federal government extended the second phase of the eased lockdown by 4 weeks and approved interstate movement outside curfew hours with effect from July 1, 2020.

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READ ALSO: Bill Gates says Trump’s WHO funding suspension is dangerous

DateConfirmed caseNew casesTotal deathsNew deathsTotal recoveryActive casesCritical cases
July 6, 202029286575654911828168047
July 5, 2020287115446451111665164017
July 4, 202028167603634611462160717
July 3, 2020275644546281211069158677
July 2, 2020271106266161310801156937
July 1, 2020264847906031310152157297
June 30, 202025694561590179746153587
June 29, 20202513356657389402151587
June 28, 20202486749056579007149957
June 27, 20202407777955848625148947
June 26, 20202329868455458253144917
June 25, 20202261459454977822142437
June 24, 20202202064954297613138657
June 23, 20202137145253387338135007
June 22, 20202091967552577109132857
June 21, 202020242436518126879128477
June 20, 202019808661506196718125847
June 19, 202019147667487126581120797
June 18, 20201848074547566307116987
June 17, 202017735587469145967112997
June 16, 202017148490455315623110707
June 15, 20201665857342445349108857
June 14, 202016085403420135220104457
June 13, 20201568250140785101101747
June 12, 20201518162739912489198917
June 11, 2020145546813875449496737
June 10, 20201387340938217435191407
June 9, 2020134646633654420688937
June 8, 2020128013153617404084007
June 7, 20201248626035412395981737
June 6, 2020122333893429382680657
June 5, 20201184432833310369678157
June 4, 2020115163503238353576467
June 3, 2020111663483151332975227
June 2, 20201081924131415323972667
June 1, 20201057841629912312271579
May 31, 20201016230728714300768687
May 30, 2020985555327312285667267
May 29, 202093023872612269763447
May 28, 202089151822595259260647
May 27, 202087333892545250159787
May 26, 2020834427624916238557107
May 25, 202080682292337231155247
May 24, 202078393132265226353607
May 23, 202075262652210217451317
May 22, 2020726124522110200750337
May 21, 2020701633921111190748987
May 20, 202066772842008184046377
May 19, 202064012261921173444757
May 18, 202061752161919164443407
May 17, 202059593881826159441837
May 16, 202056211761765147239737
May 15, 202054452881713132039544
May 14, 202051621931683118038154
May 13, 202049711841646107037374
May 12, 20204787146158695936704
May 11, 202046412421521090235894
May 10, 202043992481421777834794
May 9, 202041512391271174532784
May 8, 202039123861181067931154
May 7, 20203526381108460128184
May 6, 20203145195104553425071
May 5, 2020295014899548123704
May 4, 2020280224594641722912
May 3, 2020255817088240020702
May 2, 20202388220861735119522
May 1, 20202170238691035117512
April 30, 2020193220459731715562
April 29, 2020172819652730713692
April 28, 2020153219545425512322
April 27, 20201337644102559942
April 26, 20201273914152399942
April 25, 20201182873632229252
April 24, 202010951143312088552
April 23, 20209811083231977532
April 22, 2020873912931976482
April 21, 20207821172631975602
April 20, 2020665382311884662
April 19, 2020627862221704362
April 18, 2020541482021663562
April 17, 2020493511841593172
April 16, 2020442351311522772
April 15, 2020407341211282672
April 14, 202037330111992632
April 13, 202034320100912422
April 12, 20203235100852282
April 11, 202031813103702382
April 10, 20203051770582402
April 9, 20202881471512302
April 8, 20202742260442262
April 7, 20202541661442042
April 6, 2020238650351982
April 5, 20202321851331942
April 4, 2020214540251850
April 3, 20202092542251800
April 2, 20201841020201620
April 1, 2020174352091630
March 31, 202013982091280
March 30, 2020131202181210
March 29, 2020111221031070
March 28, 20208919103850
March 27, 2020705103660
March 26, 20206514102620
March 25, 2020517102480
March 24, 2020444102410
March 23, 20204010112370
March 22, 2020308002280
March 21, 20202210001210
March 20, 2020124001110
March 19, 20208000170
March 18, 20208500170
March 17, 20203100030
March 16, 20202000020
March 15, 20202000020
March 14, 20202000020
March 13, 20202000020
March 12, 20202000020
March 11, 20202000020
March 10, 20202000020
March 9, 20202100020
March 8, 20201000010
March 7, 20201000010
March 6, 20201000010
March 5, 20201000010
March 4, 20201000010
March 3, 20201000010
March 2, 20201000010
March 1, 20201000010
February 29, 20201000010
February 28, 20201100010

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FG to shut Third Mainland Bridge for 6 months  

The Third Mainland Bridge is the longest of three bridges connecting Lagos Island to the mainland. 

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The FederalThird Mainland Bridge, Housing: Tackling Nigeria’s huge housing deficit, Nigerian roads are not that terrible, Fashola says 

The Federal Government has announced plans to shut down the Third Mainland Bridge for maintenance work from July 24, 2020. 

This was disclosed by the Federal Controller of Works in Lagos, Mr Olukayode Popoola, during an interaction with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday July 6, 2020. 

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In the conversation, Popoola said that consultations were on for another phase of repair works to commence on the Third Mainland Bridge. He told the News Agency of Nigeria that the consultations were towards developing a perfect traffic management architecture that will be very efficient and effective. 

According to PopoolaWe want to do maintenance work on Third Mainland Bridge very soon. Most likely on the 24th. We may close it from 24th of July.’’ 

READ ALSO: Update: FG increases fuel price to N143.80 per litre

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“We are still working out the modalities and when we perfect the traffic management plan we will move to site. Everything being expected for the repairs of the bridge arrived the country that is why we want to start the repairs now,’’ 

The 11.8km bridge which has gone through series of rehabilitation works was last closed for repairs in August 2018 for 3 days of investigative maintenance check. 

Thereafter, some components needed for completion of repairs were sourced abroad because they were not available locally. 

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Meanwhile, a monitored report from Channels suggests that the closure might last for a period of 6 months.

READ ALSO: Nigeria to raise N163.32 billion through road concessions programme

There has been reports of some worn-out joints of the bridge, which has raised some serious safety concerns for the users of the bridge. The federal government will be working with the Lagos State Traffic Management Agency (LASTMA) on how best traffic during this period. 

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The Third Mainland Bridge is the longest of three bridges connecting Lagos Island to the mainland. 

The bridge starts from Oworonshoki which is linked to the Apapa-Oshodi Expressway and the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway and ends at the Adeniji Adele Interchange on Lagos Island. 

It was opened for use 1990 and was the longest in Africa until 1996 when The 6th October Bridge in Cairo was completed. 

 

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FRC orders the Big Four to separate auditing from consulting services

The Big Four firms now reportedly generate the largest portions of their revenues from consultancy services.

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Big Four

The world’s four biggest audit firms —KPMG, PwC, Ernst & Young, and Deloitte — have been directed by the Financial Reporting Council (FRC) to plan towards separating their audit services from their consulting services.

The deadline for compliance with this directive is June 2024.

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A statement that was published on the FRC website said this directive is ‘world-leading’. The statement also explained why it became imperative to separate the firms’ operations towards ensuring that they deliver the uttermost quality audit services for the good of public interest.

By the time the operational separation officially takes effect starting from June 2024, FRC said it would be expecting the following outcomes:

  • That audit practice governance would prioritise audit quality and protect auditors from influences from the rest of the firm that may try to divert their focus away from audit quality.
  • That the total amount of profits distributed to the partners in the audit practice does not persistently exceed the contribution to profits of the audit practice.
  • The culture of the audit practice prioritises high-quality audit by encouraging ethical behaviour, openness, teamwork, challenge and professional scepticism/judgement.
  • Auditors act in the public interest and work for the benefit of shareholders of audited entities and wider society.

While commenting on this development, FRC’s Chief Executive Officer, Sir Jon Thompson, said the FRC is committed to reforms on how corporate finances are reported. Further aspects of the reform package will be introduced over time, he said.

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“Operational separation of audit practices is one element of the FRC’s strategy to improve the quality and effectiveness of corporate reporting and audit in the United Kingdom following the Kingman, CMA and Brydon reviews. Today the FRC has delivered a major step in the reform of the audit sector by setting principles for operational separation of audit practices from the rest of the firm. The FRC remains fully committed to the broad suite of reform measures on corporate reporting and audit reform and will introduce further aspects of the reform package over time,” Thompson stated.

Do note that the FRC reached this decision after engaging in extensive discussions with the Big Four. It was also agreed that the audit firms will submit an implementation plan to the FRC latest by October 23rd, 2020.

Recall that it was just last week when Nairametrics reported how the Big Four earned the sum of N7.53 billion as audit fees from Nigeria’s most capitalized firms in 2019. Interestingly, these firms now reportedly generate the largest portions of their revenues from consultancy services. As a matter of fact, only about 20% of their revenues now come from auditing fees.

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