Speakers in a virtual meeting on Saturday underscored compliance with accounting standards and fair and transparent financial reporting in the context of increasing digitalization.
They opined this in the webinar on “Financial Reporting Act-2015: its implications on the business houses” organized by Dhaka Chamber of Commerce & Industry (DCCI).
They also said good financial reporting will help attract FDI and create business confidence.
As the chief guest in the programme, Mohammad Muslim Chowdhury, Comptroller and Auditor General of Bangladesh said Financial Reporting Act (FRA) covers the compulsion of public interest entity besides financial courses.
“We need more accounting professionals in the country. FRC needs to improve the visibility and for that it can collaborate with Bangladesh Bank, BSEC, Ministry of Finance or other regulatory body. In the next 4 to 5 years FRC should play a role of persuasion rather than imposition,’ he suggested.
Regarding adopting IFRS, it should be based on as per our country context considering cost of compliance, moreover, IFRS is not applicable for SMEs of Bangladesh right at this moment. For improvement of corporate governance in the small business houses or SMEs, FRC can play its motivating role, he added.
Muslim Chowdhury also reminded the wave of 4th industrial revolution and requested the institutions like ICAB and ICMAB to collaborate with FRC to enhance management information system and corporate governance in next 10 years of time.
AftabUl Islam, FCA, Director of Bangladesh Bank and also former President of DCCI said for audit firms, there may have a rating system like camel rating.
He said better financial reporting will help attract FDI and create business confidence. “We have to enhance our credibility and in that case we can examine the successful examples of other countries in terms of financial reporting regulations,” he added.
Mohammad Mohiuddin Ahmed, Executive Director of Financial Report Monitoring Division, Financial Reporting Council, Bangladesh presented the keynote paper.
He said there are three implications of financial reporting act on the business houses like financial statement, audit process and accountability.
Good financial reports will make businesses comparable globally and create investors’ confidence and ensure high ethical values, he said.
Without maintaining international accounting standard (IAS) or international financial reporting standard (IFRS), the financial report will not be accepted locally or internationally. Establishment of Financial Reporting Council (FRC) is a positive effort and the corporates need to change their mindset as well, he added.
He also emphasized on creating more competent professional accountants in the country. We also should conduct a GAP analysis in order for preparation and presentation of financial statements.
Dr. Javed Siddiqui, Associate Professor at University of Manchester, UK said FRC has been given much authority and it should act to maintain a transparent financial reporting by the auditors. Auditor’s fee in Bangladesh is low compared to other countries.
FRC needs to increase it visibility through their regular activities. For a credible audit report, for local or international acceptance, corporate governance and positive will of company management are key factors, he mentioned.
Barrister A M Masum, Appellate Division, Supreme Court of Bangladesh urged for the visibility enhancement of FRC. FRC being a regulator has to make the public interest entities to abide by the regulations. Besides strengthening auditors, he also emphasized strengthening management and board of a company that FRC can look into it according to section 47, he added.To secure public interest, section 71 of financial reporting act allows FRC to create necessary regulations to gain confidence.
Muhammad Farooq, FCA, President of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Bangladesh (ICAB) said FRC should play a role of regulators of the regulators.
“Financial reports are being prepared by the company and upon that report the audit report is prepared by the auditors. If any anomalies found, not only auditors are to be blamed, but the management of the company should also be accountable for that.”
He said in the banking sector in Bangladesh we don’t see implementation of IFRS. Moreover, auditors’ enlistment should be under one body.
Md. Jasim Uddin Akond, FCMA, President of the Institute of Cost & Management Accountants of Bangladesh (ICMAB) suggested to include cost audit in the FRA and requested FRC to take initiative for this.
CQK Mustaq Ahmed, Former Chairman of FRC said that FRC’s supervisory role should be strengthened.
Regarding fixing threshold (at present the threshold for private company is - revenue more than 5 crore taka yearly, at least 50 employee and property of 3 crore taka are considered as public interest entity) for public interest entity for SME sector, he said.
“FRC may have a consultation with the SME stakeholders to fix it up. FRC is now in its take off situation and slowly it will be able to enhance its visibility,” he added.
DCCI President Shams Mahmud said Financial Reporting Council (FRC) needs to play more effective role for improvement of quality of audit and corporate financial reporting systems significantly which will consequently help address the willful default loan problem in the banking sector. Capital market in Bangladesh is underdeveloped and its market capitalization to GDP is one of the lowest in the world.
“Transparent financial reporting by all listed companies as a well as non-listed company is very critical to gain investors' confidence thereby attract investment in the capital market.”
To attract foreign investment, MSME reporting also needs to meet international requirements and standards such as those set by the International Accounting Standards Board.Simple, user-friendly accounting and financial reporting guidelines for MSMEs need to be in place to ensure better access to finance. FRC needs to have more professional resources for implantation of this Act, he added.
M Anwarul Karim, Executive Director of Standard Setting Division, Financial Reporting Council, Bangladesh; Md Abdul Kader Joaddar, CFO, SCB Akter Hossain Sannamat, CEO, Omera Fuels Limited and Dr. Sharif Ahkam, Faculty, North South University took part in the discussion.
The historic speech of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman at the 29th UNGA forty-six years ago received the highest tribute at a high-level commemorative event in London.
Bangladesh High Commission and the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) jointly organized the event held at the IMO's famous headquarters facing the River Thames on the Albert Embankment, in Lambeth, London.
Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen joined the the event from Dhaka as the chief guest.
Congratulating the people of Bangladesh on the birth centenary of Bangabandhu, IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim said Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman dedicated his life to peace, freedom and justice of people of Bangladesh.
He also lauded the leadership of Sheikh Hasina for building a strong maritime capability and credentials of Bangladesh since his joining the IMO.
Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland said Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was a visionary charismatic leader who dedicated his life to democracy, peace, freedom, human rights and justice, which are also the core values of the Commonwealth.
Recalling Bangabandhu’s participation at the 1973 and 1975 Commonwealth summits, Patricia Scotland said the Commonwealth takes pride in the fact that it was the first international organisation that has embraced Bangabandhu and Bangladesh’s membership in 1972.
Chaired by High Commissioner of Bangladesh to the United Kingdom and Bangladesh’s Permanent Representative to the IMO Saida Muna Tasneem, Secretary-General of IMO Kitack Lim spoke at the event as the guest of honour and Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland QC as the special guest.
High Commissioners and Ambassadors who are Permanent Representatives to the IMO from India, Japan, Kenya, Malaysia, the Netherlands, Norway, Saudi Arabia, South Africa and St Kitts & Nevis; and senior officials from the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (UKFDO) and Chief Executive of UK National Commission for UNESCO spoke at the event, also participated by a large number of expatriate Bangladeshis from the UK and Ireland, according to Bangladesh High Commission in London.
Recalling Bangabandhu’s UNGA speech, Foreign Minister Dr Momen said forty-six years ago on 25 September 1974, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman delivered his maiden speech in his native Bengali language at the 29th UNGA, placing multilateralism and global peace and prosperity at the centre of his foreign policy.
"Forty-six years later as humanity faces the world’s greatest pandemic, Bangladesh, led by Bangabandhu’s visionary daughter Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina continues to pursue her father’s foreign policy placing our faith in the United Nations to overcome the contemporary global challenges," he said.
Referring to the World Maritime Day 2020 that was observed on 24 September, the Foreign Minister said like Bangabandhu’s aspirational foreign policy, his pragmatic maritime vision of 1972 continues to guide our deep and abiding commitment to the mission and vision of the IMO and our aspirations as a maritime nation.
High Commissioner Saida Muna Tasneem paid her profound tribute to the Bangladesh’s Father of the Nation and said, “Bangabandhu’s maiden speech at the UNGA continues to remain the “Magna Carta’ of Bangladesh’s multilateral diplomatic principles and practices that stand on the pillars of international peace and security, peaceful co-existence, a just international economic order, enjoyment of economic, social and cultural rights as enshrined in the UDHR and the indomitable spirit of mankind to overcome the insurmountable odds”.
As Permanent Representative of Bangladesh to the IMO, the High Commissioner commented that under the visionary leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Bangladesh’s women seafarers and mariners are steering ocean-going vessels globally living up to gender equality in maritime aspiration of the IMO.
Under her direct guidance, the Bangladesh government took care of each and every seafarer during the Covid crisis and ensured their safe return to their home countries.
The High Commissioner expressed her deep sympathy for nearly 8000 seafarers around the world including Bangladesh’s seafarers who are currently stranded at sea due to Covid pandemic and urged upon IMO member states to grant access to Bangladesh’s seafarers to come onshore to be repatriated to their home country.
Chief Executive of UK National Commission for UNESCO James Bridge termed Bangabandhu’s UN speech as a historic record of enormous diplomacy by Bangabandhu between 1972 and 1974 to secure universal recognition for his newly independent country at the UN.
He also paid a tribute to Bangabandhu’s historic 7th March, 1971 speech that UNESCO has recently included as part of the world's documentary heritage.
Head of South Asia Department of UKFDO Fergus Auld OBE said Bangladesh’s entry to the UN in 1974 was a moment of pride and an affirmation of the desire of the people of Bangladesh to play an active role on the global stage as a sovereign nation and was supported by the UK.
He lauded the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in building Bangladesh’s climate resilience and her important role as the chair of the Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF) to address the climate vulnerabilities of 48 countries at the highest climate risk.
Ambassadors and permanent representatives to the IMO from different regions all paid their profound tribute to Bangabandhu on the occasion of his Birth Centenary and the 46th anniversary of his speech at the 1974 UNGA.
The ambassadors and the permanent representatives include High Commissioner of India Gaitri Issar Kumar, Ambassador of the Netherlands Karel Van Oosterom, Ambassador of Japan Yasumasa Nagamine, Ambassador of Norway Wegger Strommen, High Commissioner of South Africa Nomatemba Gugulethu Pudnixia Olivia Tambo, High Commissioner of Kenya Caleb Manoa Esipisu, High Commissioner of St Kitts & Nevis Dr Levom Osaac, Permanent Representative to the IMO for Saudi Arabia Essam M. Alammari and Maritime Attaché for Malaysia Kanagalingam T. Selvarasah.
Mayor of Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC) Barrister Sheikh Fazle Noor Taposh has hailed Dhaka as a city of opportunity, declaring there are plenty of opportunities to come in the days ahead.
Under the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, he said, the capital will flourish and prosper like never before. Taposh made the remarks while addressing a two-day "International Seminar and Conference on Investment in Inclusive Business". Dutch-Bangla Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DBCCI) and SNV Netherlands Development Organisation in Bangladesh jointly organized the event
"We are formulating our very own master plan for DSCC and the place to invest would be our central business district, we are going to have a new central business district which will be the financial hub of the city and will uplift Dhaka to the international arena. We’ll have to accommodate all the economic activities that are not still formal," Taposh said.
President of Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) Sheikh Fazle Fahim, Taposh's cousin, discussed the impact of Inclusive Business.
He also elaborated how FBCCI facilitated the business entities in Bangladesh and the initiative from the government to face the Corona Pandemic.
"Expand, brand, stand is a slogan that I use for the RMG sector in Bangladesh," said Harry Verweij, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Netherlands in Bangladesh.
He explained further what he meant by ‘brand’ saying it is that Bangladesh should do more to show the rest of the world what is happening here, share the world, the progress and opportunity and show them the willingness to do business in an inclusive and sustainable way.
"By ‘stand’ I mean that Bangladesh should stand for its people, its values and its products. With ‘Expand’ I mean that Bangladesh should innovate and grow sustainably," the Ambassador said.
DBCCI President Md. Anwar Shawkat Afser, President chaired the event.
He highlighted the collaboration among the business entities, investors, innovators on inclusive business in the seminar.
Afser focused on the theme of the Conference how Inclusive Investment for tackling poverty.
K.M Abdus Salam, Secretary, Ministry of Labour and Employment outlined the priority of the government and the mandate of Ministry of the Labour and Employment as with the vision 2021 and vision 2041 and also 2030 UN SDGs.
Dr. Allert van den ham, Country Director SNV Bangladesh, Laos & Myanmar, SNV Netherlands Development Organisation expressed how private sector could be the prime contributor to the development of this country, how one could include the bottom of the pyramid population in the value chain, how a business can offer valuable products and services that can be availed by the poor.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Saturday asked the world community to treat the Covid-19 vaccine as a ‘global public good’ and urged the United Nations to ensure its timely availability of the vaccine to all countries at a time.
"We hope that the Covid-19 vaccine will soon be available in the world. It’s imperative to treat the vaccine as a ‘global public good.’ We need to ensure the timely availability of this vaccine to all countries at the same time," she said.
The Prime Minister made the plea while virtually addressing the general debate at the 75th United Nations General Assembly in Bangla like the previous years following the footprints of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
She said if Bangladesh is provided with the technical know-how and patents, the pharmaceutical industry of Bangladesh has the capacity to go for vaccine production on a mass scale.
Sheikh Hasina said the pandemic is a stark reminder that the fates of the human being are interconnected and that ‘no one is secured until everyone is secured’.
Bangladesh’s Response to Covid
The Prime Minister also said efforts to contain the pandemic and achieve Agenda 2030 have to go hand-in-hand. "Bangladesh’s second voluntary national review (VNR) presented this year shows that “we’re well on track to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)."
She mentioned that the pandemic to a large extent kept all confined to their homes. Consequently, economic activities were greatly hampered along with the health system.
Hasina mentioned that Bangladesh achieved a GDP growth rate of 8.2 percent in the fiscal year 2018-2019. But the Covid-19 pandemic has impeded its economic progress.
In Bangladesh, she said, the government took initiatives from the beginning putting equal emphasis on the lives and livelihoods of people.
"We’ve announced stimulus packages aiming to minimise the impacts of the pandemic on our business and productivity. We’ve greatly expanded social safety nets coverage," she said.
The Prime Minister said the government has readily arranged food and other assistance for the people who are rendered jobless due to Covid-19. This arrangement has benefitted nearly 10 million families.
She said the government has announced a 31-point directive soon after the detection of Covid cases in the country. It launched vigorous awareness raising campaigns as well as distributed personal protective kits aiming to contain the spread of the Coronavirus. These resulted in containment of seasonal diseases which are otherwise common in the country.
Sheikh Hasina said the government quickly identified the impending challenges of Bangladesh’s financial sector and announced 21 stimulus packages.
These packages include sectors such as export-intensive industries, safety and security of the workers, working capital for Small and Medium Enterprises, loan facilities for export growth, assistance to farmers and agriculture, loan for employment generation, interest relief for the affected business enterprises, refinancing schemes and insurance for the health workers.
"So far, we’ve announced stimulus packages worth USD 13.25 billion which is equivalent to 4.03 percent of our total GDP," she said.
During the pandemic, the Prime Minister said, the highest emphasis has been placed on food production. “At the same time, we’ve taken all measures to ensure adequate supply of nutrition for our people.”
Hasina said special arrangements have been made for keeping the industries running and for proper marketing of agricultural products and industrial outputs in full compliance with health guidelines. “Consequently, our health sector and economy are still comparatively in better shape.”
Despite the Covid-induced stagnation in global industrial outputs, Bangladesh's GDP has registered a growth rate of 5.24 percent which is expected to be 7 percent in the next fiscal year.
The Prime Minister said the government has provided scholarships to 4 million students. "We’ve also given cash incentives to five million people including farmers, workers and laborers affected by the pandemic."
To ensure healthcare for the common people, she said the government is providing 30 types of medicines free of cost through 18,000 community clinics and union health centres.
Along with government assistance, she said she herself has collected funds and distributed more than an amount of Tk 2.5 billion among the orphans, poor students, madrasahs, mosques, temples, school teachers, artists, journalists who are otherwise not included in government’s assistance programmes.
"As a result, the impact of the pandemic among our people has been minimal," she said.
Bangladesh’s Economic Transformation
Hasina said the government is working hard to transform Bangladesh into a middle-income country by 2021, attain the SDGs by 2030, a developed country by 2041 and a prosperous Delta by 2100.
"We cannot but emphasise more on the importance of leveraging science, technology, and innovation for closing the digital divide and mobilising resources and technology transfer," she said.
She mentioned it is also crucial that graduating LDCs and recently graduated ones are accorded scaled-up international support and incentive packages in the transition and post-transition phases to minimise the pandemic-triggered impediments.
Regarding the migrant workers, the Prime Minister said they are the frontline contributors to the economies of their host and home countries alike. Many of them have lost their jobs during the pandemic while many have been sent back home.
"We’ve allocated US$ 361 million for the returnee migrant workers. It is critical to help them regain employment in the post-Covid job market. I urge the international community and migrant receiving countries to treat migrant workers fairly and with empathy," she said.
Bangladesh’s Commitment to Peace
The Prime Minister said Bangladesh is the world’s largest troops and police contributing country in the world to the peacekeeping missions. "Our peacekeepers are putting their lives on the line to secure and sustain peace in conflict-ravaged countries. International community must ensure their safety and security."
She also said this year all are celebrating the 20th Anniversary of the Women, Peace and Security Agenda. "As one of its original proponents, we call for due recognition of women’s role in peace and security. We’ve already formulated a national action plan in this regard."
Bangladesh’s unflinching commitment to peace has resulted in the adoption of a zero-tolerance policy towards terrorism and violent extremism. National efforts have to be complemented by international cooperation to curb this menace, she added.
Talking about the climate-vulnerable countries, Hasina said the pandemic is worsening the pre-existing vulnerabilities of these countries.
In Bangladesh, she said, “We’re dealing with the dual impact of recent floods and the cyclone Amphan even during the pandemic. As the current President of the CVF and the V-20 Group of Ministers of Finance, Bangladesh would lead the Forum to map out a sustainable and climate-resilient pathway out of the crisis. We also stand ready to contribute to securing a constructive and productive outcome in the Glasgow COP."
She mentioned that the Beijing Declaration and Platform of Action has helped the international community come a long way to ensure gender equality. "As we are celebrating the 25th Anniversary of the Declaration, we need to strengthen our resolve and mutual cooperation to address all the critical areas of concern."
In Bangladesh, she said, the government has closed 72.6 percent of the overall gender gap. Women’s contribution remains at the core of our national development. They are also at the forefront of pandemic response and recovery efforts.
Sheikh Hasina said Bangladesh consistently and strongly supports the global quest for a nuclear weapons free world. To that end we support the aspirations of developing countries to benefit from the peaceful use of nuclear technology.
The Prime Minister said Bangladesh's painful experience and the worst form of genocide and crimes against humanity that the nation had to endure during its struggle for independence motivated it to support the legitimate cause of the Palestinian people.
Sheikh Hasina said Bangladesh provided temporary shelter to over 1.1 million forcibly displaced Myanmar nationals. More than three years have elapsed. Regrettably, not a single Rohingya could be repatriated.
"The problem was created by Myanmar and its solution must be found in Myanmar. I request the international community to play a more effective role for a solution to the crisis."
Sheikh Hasina said that pandemic has indeed aggravated existing global challenges. It has also reinforced the indispensability of multilateralism.
She also said on the 75th Anniversary of the United Nations, the commitment to multilateralism as embodied in the UN Charter remains unflinching.
"At the national level, despite numerous challenges, we’re committed to upholding the values of multilateralism and working towards building a “Shonar Bangla” free of poverty and exploitation based on democratic principles with full enjoyment of human rights, as envisioned by the Father of our Nation. On the birth centenary of our Father of the Nation, this is our pledge to our nation and to the world," she said.
Dogs are not only man's best friend, they are also his oldest one. And that's the reason why the Dhaka South City Corporation’s (DSCC) recent move to relocate strays from the capital has sparked a huge public outcry.
In a controversial move, the civic body has, of late, started relocating strays from different parts of the metropolis under its jurisdiction to the Matuail landfill on the outskirts. In sharp contrast, the Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) has decided to aggressively carry out vaccination and sterilisation programmes to control the population of strays.
Animal lovers have been intensifying their protests against DSCC's move. On Friday, Animal Lovers Bangladesh (ALB), an organization working for animal welfare, formed a human chain at Suhrawardy Udyan in the capital, demanding the authorities shelve the plan to relocate Dhaka's stray dogs.
A UNB photojournalist captured some photos of the human chain.
‘Don’t throw them like garbage. Let them Live. They didn’t harm humans. We are harmful for them’ — read a placard held by one of the protesters.
Another placard suggested aggressive vaccination of dogs instead of relocation or killing.
Other placards highlighted the importance of dogs in human society.