Call to improve corporate culture in ICAP moot

LAHORE (April 18 2004): Dr Ishrat Hussain, Governor, State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), has said that improvement in corporate culture is a must to improve Pakistan's share in global market.

Referring to the expected 6 percent growth target in near future, he said that this would definitely result in reduction of poverty level as well as improvement in health, education, and other vital sectors concerned directly with welfare of the people.

Delivering his presidential speech at the technical session of All Pakistan Chartered Accountants Conference 2004 here on Saturday he urged the Accountants to provide correct and timely information to regulators in order to avert incidents such as corporate failure or banking crisis.

“We must learn from our past in order to give fresh guidance to financial sector in the country,” he added.

He said that with accountancy standards being improved world wide, the country needs to catch up with this trend here, too. Tracing back the history and referring to separation of East wing of the country, he said that this had resulted in deterioration the country's corporate culture.

Expressing views on enhancement of share of provinces in NFC Award, Dr Ishrat said that it would result in the growth of overall social sector in the country.

He called for increased cohesion between important institutions such as Picic and Smeda. Referring to SME desks in banks, he said that standard of its operators also needed to be improved.

He asked currency dealers to enter franchise system by June this year. “After that, stringent action will be taken against those not complying with this,” he added.

Dr Tariq Hasan, Chairman, Securities & Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP), said that recent corporate scandals had painfully led to a growing credibility gap between the auditors and investors and other users of financial information.

The environment in which auditors are working has seen drastic changes following a number of striking corporate failures in recent years. The ramifications of Enron, WorldCom and Parmalat were far reaching.

The credibility gap in the accounting profession came at a time when the investing public has a stronger demand for open, truthful, and accurate accounting information and, in particular, for timely access to newer and greater accounting services, he added.

The SECP chief said that with world market moving towards global market economies, professional accountants need a broad global outlook to understand the context in which business and other organisations operate.

“The expanding globalisation of business and investment is generating not only demand but also pressure to enhance the quality of financial reporting throughout the world. The profession must respond appropriately to this demand to maintain public trust that is essential to our capital markets and the profession,” he added.

Tariq Hassan told journalists on the occasion that SECP is fully aware of its responsibilities and is vigilantly monitoring and is involved in surveillance of financial sector.

He said that with establishing of experts committee on the subject of establishment of National Stock Exchange, a positive development in this regard was expected by the end of the year.

Tariq said that SECP, after consulting stock exchanges, has modified rules of marginal finance and these would be implemented by June. The SECP chairman asked auditors to adhere to highest ethical standards.

Dr Saman Shah, Saquib H Shirazi, Ebrahim Yaqub Sidat, Tariq Iqbal Khan and Hamesh Khan also read their papers on the occasion.

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