ICAB President AF Nesaruddin Spoke PwC Accountants’ Meet 2019
The ‘Accountants’ Meet 2019’ was organized by PwC, Bangladesh on 28 January 2019 at Pan Pacific Sonargaon Hotel, Dhaka. Honorable Minister for Finance, Government of Bangladesh and Chartered Accountant Mr. AHM Mustafa Kamal FCA was present as the Chief Guest. His Excellency Earl R. Miller, US Ambassador to Bangladesh was present as the Guest of Honour. Mr. CQK Mustaq Ahmed, Chairman, Financial Reporting Council (FRC) and President-ICAB Mr. A F Nesaruddin FCA were present as Special Guests. Ms. Sushmita Basu, Partner - Tax & Regulatory Services - PwC extended vote of thanks.
In the brief deliberation, ICAB President pointed out that, the Financial Reporting Standard in Bangladesh has improved a lot. SAFA Best Published Awards giving ceremony was held recently in Pune, India, in which Bangladesh got highest number of prizes even beating India. Bangladesh got 9 1st prizes out of 10 categories where we submitted nominations. Out of total 39 awards, Bangladesh bagged 18 awards which is quite remarkable. A Bangladeshi entity named IDLC Finance has been getting overall championship award consecutively for last few years. All credit goes to fellow Chartered Accountants who are the main contributors for this improvement supported by the Directors and regulators, he mentioned.
The President mentioned that this newly elected government is in office less than a month. The message we got from the press briefing of Honorable Finance Minister specially in streamlining banking sector and more specifically bringing non-performing loan (NPL) down is encouraging. The President-ICAB mentioned that loan might be stacked for various reasons like technical failure, market competition and many other genuine reasons but when money is siphoned out for sponsors personal benefits it should be dealt toughly.
The President also discussed very briefly some important issues of our economy. ICAB has been continuously pleading for expanding tax net for last many years. Currently there are 35 lacs TIN Holders out of which only 16 lacs file tax returns. This is only 1% of the total population in Bangladesh, although it has increased in recent years from 9 lacs in 2011. Once we have targeted to upgrade Bangladesh as middle income country, there are much works to be done to expand the tax net and increase the tax revenue. The President assured the Hon'ble Minister that ICAB and its members are always ready and in fact, continue to support the government in this regard. The tax rate of 35% in Bangladesh is high. It should not be more then 25% considering the rates in neighboring countries. This is one of the incentives for foreign direct investment (FDI) as well.
The President welcome the government's recent move to implement VAT applying rates in 4 tiers - very essential, essential, semi-essential and comfort. Minimum threshold is another issue, he pointed out and suggested that it needs to be increased because people should be prepared for it apart from the fact that at this stage, the NBR probably lacks sufficient capacity to handle it. The threshold can be increased gradually. This will also improve the Government tax collection to achieve its target level and will also ensure compliance in that area. The President also requested honorable Finance Minister to engage the ICAB and its expert members to give maximum inputs for better implementation of the VAT Law.
The President pointed out some issues of the tax administration, anomalies and distorted sections of the income tax laws and opined that 2nd tax reforms are now overdue. The Honorable Minister responded positively and indicated in his deliberation that he will address all these critical issues to make the revenue department with more proactive playing a positive and effective role.
The President requested Honorable Minister to involve ICAB members in budget making process and allow them to contribute. The President assured that ICAB and the profession are always ready to support the government's initiatives to help Bangladesh economy to grow. Respected Finance Minister Mr. AHM Mustafa Kamal indicated that he would involve all concerned in his efforts.
The President informed the Honorable Finance Minister that ICAB Team is eager to meet him and requested for a dedicated time slot to ICAB delegation for discussion of certain matters national interests and professional issues. The Minister responded positively and advised the President to meet him sometime in the second week of February after his office is fully ready and kick off matters are over.
The program was mainly meant for Chartered Accountants specially from Corporate Sector and it was well attended by many of our fellow members.