Roundtable on finance personnel in public sector

The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Bangladesh (ICAB), the sole professional body responsible for regulating the accountancy profession in Bangladesh, and the Confederation of Asian and Pacific Accountants (CAPA), representing the regional accountancy profession, of which ICAB is a member, jointly organised a daylong, high profile Roundtable on “Attracting & Retaining Finance Personnel in the Bangladesh Public Sector” in Sonargaon Hotel, Dhaka, on Thursday.

Tofail Ahmed, MP, Minister, Ministry of Commerce, GoB, graced the occasion as the Chief Guest of the Roundtable Inauguration.

The Roundtable was participated by a wide range of stakeholders, including the Government parliamentarian and public sector officials, regulatory agencies, civil society, academia, and Roundtable Picturewell-accomplished accounting and finance professionals and international experts. The policy issues, challenges and measures for “Attracting & Retaining Finance Personnel in the Bangladesh Public Sector” were extensively debated and deliberated upon by the distinguished participants from a holistic perspective, with a view to identifying relevant initiatives and opportunities in addressing the challenge, whether through policy design and implementation, advocacy and influence, or education and training.

The United Nations Millennium Development Goals 2000 committed to a new global partnership to reduce extreme poverty by 2015, through the achievement of eight principal goals. A commitment to good governance through better public financial management was an integral part of reaching these goals. One of the Sustainable Development Goals proposed in 2015 to build upon the MDGs over the next 15 years, is to develop effective, accountable and transparent institutions.

Why a Roundtable on the Bangladesh Public Sector? The bulk of the economy of Bangladesh is still in the Government / public sector and its contribution to the national GDP overwhelms that of the burgeoning private sector (National GDP was US$ 103 billion 2014-15, whereas DSE stocks market capitalization is USD 40 billion). It is envisaged that this Roundtable will show the ways and means of how finance professionals would improve PFM and contribute to strengthening the public sector, thereby improving Government/public sector accountability and transparency. Improved PFM would result in more economic, efficient and effective deployment and utilization of public resources, and thereby contribute towards greater economic growth. The Roundtable outcome will support the ICAB to catalyze relevant awareness of the role of finance professionals and conduct persistent dialogues and consultations with relevant Government institutions and agencies, for implementation of adequate, appropriate Financial Reporting Framework of the Government/ public sector- through adoption/implementation of International Standards of Accounting (IFRS & IPSAS and Auditing (ISAs & ISSAIs)- in the government and public sector, aimed at enhancing levels of accountability and transparency in the financial systems and thereby contribute to greater economic discipline and development of Bangladesh.

The Roundtable will manifest the ICAB’s relentless efforts to serving the public interest and foster its effective role as a partner in the national development process. The ICAB is of the view that effective PFM is dependent on access to and engagement of the requisite number and appropriate quality of finance personnel (like qualified Chartered Accountants) in the Government institutions and public sector enterprises The ICAB emphasized on the importance of ensuring IFAC SMO compliance, while the discussants agreed on the necessity of ensuring implementation of the IFAC IPSAS and the INTOSAI ISSAIs in the accounting and auditing of the government and public sector entities in Bangladesh.

The Roundtable was chaired by Brain Blood, Chief Executive CAPA and Moderated by Anwaruddin Chowdhury, Director CAPA Board.