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Innovations key to economic recovery

FE REPORT | July 12, 2020 00:00:00

A labourer pulling a pushcart loaded with empty chemical drums in the capital on Saturday to earn his livelihood amid the Covid-19 pandemic — FE Photo by Shafiqul Alam

Experts at a webinar on Saturday said successful economic recovery would largely depend on transparent public finances, accountability and information accuracy.

Professionals the relevant fields have an important role to play to meet those preconditions, they maintained.

Participants of the event also laid emphasis on prioritizing the small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and the agriculture sector.

Economic recovery would demand innovative approaches and the professionals, including the chartered accountants (CAs) would have to rise to the occasion, they said.

The experts took part at a virtual conference on 'Role of Chartered Accountants in Economic Recovery and Promoting Cross-Border Investments' organised by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Bangladesh (ICAB).

Prime Minister's Private Sector Industry and Investment Adviser Salman F Rahman attended the conference as the chief guest.

President of CA Sri Lanka Manil Jaysinghe joined the virtual meeting as the special guest while President of the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) Dr. In-Ki Joo as the guest of honour.

Executive Director (Technical) at the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW), UK Robert Hodgkinson presented the keynote paper.

Member Council and Past President of the ICAB Md Humayun Kabir moderated the session.

ICAB President Muhammad Farooq and its Vice Presidents Sabbir Ahmed and Mohammed Forkan Uddin spoke on the occasion among others.

Salman F Rahman said that all the professionals now needed to focus on the economic recovery while applying their respective expertise.

"We have to address the health issues on a priority basis during this pandemic. Simultaneously, we also have to think about economic recovery plan, for which CAs can play a significant role," he said.

Stressing on the need for cross-border trade for recovery, the adviser said innovative approaches will be important since many changes are taking place across the globe during the pandemic.

He also focused on agriculture, SMEs and use of the ICT for economic recovery.

Mr. Rahman said optimum use of information and communication technology (ICT) infrastructure, established by the government in the recent years, is essential to continue with the economic activities.

He was also critical about the country's failure to ensure desired performance of the capital market and in areas of taxation. "CAs can play an important role for improving the situation regarding this."

Keynote speaker Robert Hodgkinson said all are aware that covid -19 is an economic crisis as much as it is a health crisis.

Economies are disrupted and businesses are threatened, the accountancy profession has a vital role to play here, Mr. Hodgkinson said.

Underscoring the need for information accuracy, he said that the people in the strong and most resilient economies trust information so that leaders could make well-informed decisions.

Dr. In-Ki Joo said that emerging economies largely depend on SMEs, so their survival is crucial.

"The recovery of the SMEs is critical for economies to get back to sustained growth," he said, adding that their widespread failure will be disastrous.

He also highlighted the proper role of the CAs in the country for attracting foreign investors.

ICAB President Muhammad Farooq said that as a professional institute, ICAB is providing suggestions to the government for preparing well-thought-out recovery plan and action programmes to tackle the impact of the deadly disease on the economy.

Expert professionals of the institute are involved in analysing the impact of COVID-19 on the different sectors of the economy and suggesting the proper strategy and plans for recovery directly and indirectly, he said.

"We have very important responsibility for building business confidence among the stakeholders through ensuring our trust leadership," he said.

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