President’s Communication : March-April 2020
Dear Fellow Members and colleagues,as COVID 19 cases continue to mount across Bangladesh, it has become imperative that we maintain social distancing and stay safe at home. Undoubtedly, the whole world is confronted with uncertainties that did not exist before in such scale. Bangladeshis is not new to disasters or major humanitarian crises. The COVID 19 pandemic, however, is a crises of a completely different magnitude and we all are affected individually and collectively. It is at this backdrop, I am writing to you in our News Bulletin to let you know how we are mitigating the circumstances that we are in.
With the nationwide shutdown, the Institute have remained closed over a prolong period. We do not exactly know as to when we would be able to resume our normal office functions. This has created both functional and financial impediments for us at various ends.
To respond to urgency, a number of discussion meetings were held online through web conferencing which included discussion meeting of the Council members as well as other committees’ meetings. According to the decision, some important official letters were prepared and sent electronically to various authorities to address our concerns. I shall highlight them in the succeeding paragraphs.
ICAB came up with a guideline for all its members on how to address in the preparation and audit of financial statements. The detail guidelines were prepared by the technical and research committee of ICAB. Electronically, the guidelines were sent to all members. On 18 April, electronically, letters were sent to Regulatory Authorities including FRC, BSEC, IDRA and MRA regarding those of ICAB's efforts to assist the members of ICAB addressing the impact of COVID-19 outbreak in Financial Reporting and Auditing.
COVID 19 has caused disruptions to global trade, business, and education. Bangladesh is equally affected by this contagion. Our CA firms is also having the impact felt in manifold. The Institute have taken initiatives to address the concern; letters were sent to Hon’ble Finance Minister, Hon’ble Commerce Minister, Governor Bangladesh Bank, Secretary, Ministry of Commerce and Banking Division, Ministry of Finance for seeking Financial stimuli for CA Professionals as well as CA Firms.
On 21 April Dhaka Regional Committee (DRC), ICAB sent a circular regarding Telemedicine Service to all members to respond to the situation emerged from COVID-19 pandemic as the services from public/private hospitals became tough to avail. A list of contact numbers of the physicians was attached with the circular. A formal arrangement is also made with the Universal Medical Hospital, Dhaka for the treatment of sick members and their dependents including COVID 19 sickness.
To keep the activities ongoing as much as possible amidst this pandemic, I convened meetings with the senior officials of ICAB at regular intervals, and we held a good number of meetings and made discussion on ICAB’s activities through video conferencing. Now I would like to go over the activities sequentially.
We conducted meeting on 02 April 2020, to discuss on holding Exam of May-June 2020 Session andother administrative and technical matters.
I conducted a MANCOM Meeting with ICAB senior Management Team on 05 April 2020 at 12:00PM through Video Conferencing to review on going activities and projects, Online CPD for Members, Preparing sector wise members list for recognizing the employers, etc. We discussed as to how we can carryout official functions without jeopardizing health and safety issues.
On 9 April 2020, a discussion session of Council-ICAB was held through video conferencing regarding correspondence to include CA Firms and Accounting Profession as affected sector because of COVID-19 outbreak and to bring to the attention of Govt. in stimuli Package.
On 13 April 2020, Secretary & CEO, ICAB wrote a letter to Chairman NBR requesting for the time extension of submitting Annual Returns of Firms and waivering penalty for the delayed submission.
On 15 April 2020, Circular regarding” Impact of COVID-19 Outbreak on Financial Reporting and Auditing in Bangladesh“ was disseminated among the members.
On 16 April 2020, we wrote letters to Ministries and other concerned for financial stimuli for CA Professional and CA Firms.
On 18 April 2020, we wrote letters to Regulatory Authorities including FRC, BSEC, IDRA and MRA regarding ICAB’s efforts to assist the members of ICAB addressing the impact of COVID-19 outbreak in Financial Reporting and Auditing & shared the paper titled ‘Potential Impact of Corona Virus (COVID-19) Outbreak on Financial Reporting and Auditing in Bangladesh’.
On 21 April 2020, Telemedicine Service was arranged by DRC-ICAB for seeking medical advices for our members. A list of physicians and their contact numbers was given in the circular sent to all members.
On 28 April 2020, a virtual meeting with exam committees was conducted and we discussed the tentative Time schedule of CA Exam May-June Session 2020 and conducting Online Classes for CA Students ahead of Exam. Vice Presidents Mr. Sidhartha Barua FCA, Mr. Sabbir Ahmed FCA, and Mohammed Forkan Uddin FCA, Council Member Mr. Gopal Chandra Ghosh FCA, Secretary & CEO-ICAB and other concerned ICAB officials participated in the session.
Now, I would like to recall some of the activities that we undertook prior to post Corona situation. On 04 March 2020, a workshop on ‘Practical Demonstration of Audit Materiality, Journal Entry Testing, Audit Sampling and Opening Balances’ was held at ICAB. Practicing members and directors, senior managers of CA firms participated in the workshop. Mr. Ali Amjad Choudhury FCA, Partner, Howladar Yunus & Co., Chartered Accountants was the resource person. I thank all of them for their efforts.
On 15 March 2020 a members’ conference on ‘Income Tax Policy Paper on the upcoming Amendment of Income Tax Ordinance 1984’ was held at ICAB auditorium. Mr. Abu Hena Md. Rahmatul Muneem, Senior Secretary, Internal Resources Division (IRD) & Chairman, National Board of Revenue (NBR) was the chief guest while Ms. Nahar Ferdousi Begum, Member (Taxes Legal & Enforcement) and Mr. Ranjan Kumar Bhowmik, Member (Tax Survey & Inspection) were present as special guests. I delivered address of welcome while Mr. Mohammad Al Maruf Khan FCA, Partner, Howladar Yunus & Co., Chartered Accountants and Mr. Snehasish Barua FCA, Partner, Snehasish Mahmud & Co., Chartered Accountants presented the Key Note paper. Mr Md. Humayun Kabir FCA, Past President and Council Member moderated the session. Policy paper delivered was the hard work of the sub Committee for about 3 months. Undoubtedly, they all deserved high appreciation.
With these, I would like to wrap up today. We pray to Almighty for His divine blessings in this month of Holy Ramadan. We pray for everyone’s good health free from this epidemic. May we all resume our normal activities sooner. We look forward having a safer tomorrow. With best wishes to you and all your loved ones.
Muhammad Farooq FCA