SECP chairman urges chartered accountants to go for strict audits

ISLAMABAD (APP): The Chairman, SECP Zafar Hijazi on Thursday asked the audit professionals to adopt strict auditing criteria to bring Pakistan’s audit regime on a par with international standards. He was addressing at a seminar organized by the ICAP on `code of corporate governance; challenges and way forward’, according to a statement issued by SECP. He proposed that the audit firms should focus on specialization in order to improve audit quality and efficiency and also that the small firms particularly the sole proprietorships (which constitute approximately 75pc of total number of audit firms) should consider merger with other firms to reap benefits of scale, access to new markets and better utilization of limited resources.

Zafar Hijazi said that the SECP is creating an approved `Panels of Auditors’.

The primary intent of this step is to synergize audit services, create compatibility between the capacities of the auditors and the requirements of the audit of a particular company and encourage amalgamation of small firm/sole proprietors, he added.

He said that in comparison with the international audit firms, the biggest gap which he has observed is the lack of accountability.

He said that the era of self- regulation is over. Worldwide there are independent audit oversight mechanisms for accountability whereas in Pakistan we have been debating on its development since last 10 years.

Be it European Union, World Bank or IOSCO every international forum has concluded that the oversight of audit profession in Pakistan is not independent of the profession it seeks to regulate, he said.

Zafar Hijazi said if ICAP does not rise to the occasion, all the corporate governance stakeholders will suffer. The repute of the Institute itself and trust of investors in the economy of Pakistan will be the most effected.

He urged auditors to review their pledge for improving corporate practices, supporting transparency and accountability standards in the markets.

He hoped that the ICAP will continue to play its role in efforts for development of robust corporate sector and financial markets.

FPCCI lauds PM’s decision of exempting industry from loadshedding

LAHORE (APP): Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) Thursday widely lauded prime minister’s bold decision of exempting industry from loadshedding . President FPCCI, Muhammad Adrees told APP that “the entire industry is grateful to prime minister for acceding to their long standing demand for giving complete loadshedding exemption to industry which he hoped will play a vital role in rapid industrialization and accelerating the economic growth in the country”. Vice President SAARC Chamber and Chairman United Business Group,Iftikhar Ali Malik said that exemption would greatly help earn foreign exchange by timely exporting Pak products to European countries.

He said that export order targets would also be met as a result of round-the-clock provision of power to the industry.

Chief Executive Trade Development Authority Pakistan, S.M.Munir said that prime minister had always given great importance to business community and all-out efforts were always made to provide business friendly environment to boost economic activities in the country.

VP FPCCI Hameed Akhtar Chadda said that if gas was also provided round-the-clock, industrial production could be doubled in the country which he added would help improve socio- economic condition of the people besides ensuring economic stability.

President SME sector Punjab Rehmat Ullah Javed said that small scale traders attached with cottage industry would greatly benefit from the exemption as their production of cottage based industry would be increase manifold.

Member Executive LCCI, Mian Waqar Ahmad said that epoch making decision of Prime Minister would usher an era of progress, development and prosperity in the country.

Officials asked to take action against defaulters of Revenue Stamps Duty

KARACHI (APP): Senior Member Board of Revenue Sindh, Shoaib Ahmed Siddiqi has said that a letter written to the Chairman FBR has called for ensuring recovery of Revenue Stamps Duty in the interest of the government and the people. He said that the importers have not been paying the revenue stamp duty to the national exchequer since 2010. He said this while chairing a meeting of the high officials of the Revenue Department at his camp office here, said a statement on Thursday. Shoaib Siddiqi has also taken notice of the theft of revenue stamps duty from Customs’ bill of entry and directed the Member SR&E to take action against the offenders strictly in accordance with the law.

Reserves rise to over $17.49 billion

ISLAMABAD (APP): The total liquid foreign reserves held by the country stood at $17,494.2 million on May 22, 2015. Giving break-up of the foreign reserves position, a statement of the central bank said that foreign reserves held by the State Bank of Pakistan stood at $12,284.4 million while the net foreign reserves held by banks stood at $5,209.8 million on May 22. The SBP said that during the week ending May 22, 2015, SBP’s liquid FX reserves decreased by $228 million to $12,284 million, compared to $12,512 million in the previous week. During the week, SBP made payment of $136 million to International Monetary Fund as the last installment under Stand By Arrangement.

Pakistan, Nigeria to boost trade

ISLAMABAD (Staff Reporter): Federal Minister for Industries & Production Ghulam Murtaza Khan Jatoi in a meeting with High Commissioner of Nigeria Dauda Danladi here on Thursday, discussed many potential sectors including agriculture, textile, machinery, vehicles and technological development, where Pakistan and Nigeria could assist each other. According to a handout, the high commissioner apprised the minister about his visit to multiple Pakistani cities and the immense potential he sees to develop Pakistan and Nigeria together.  Extending support for Danladi’s cause, the minister discussed the potential agreement between Pakistan and Nigeria which includes industrial policy data and information sharing, and establishment of industrial infrastructure in Nigeria, such as industrial zones and business parks.

The agreement also details cooperation between Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) through joint ventures and technology transfers.

The minister explained how there is great export potential for Pakistan in agricultural machinery, fertilizers, pesticides, vehicles (tractors, trailers and motor vehicle parts), pharmaceutical products, textile products, cereals (rice and wheat), legumes, sports goods and toys, plastic articles, and leather articles. He also assured that he will coordinate with the Ministry of Commerce and the Ministry of Textile to make all these potential partnerships possible, and create working groups of the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Authorities (SMEDAs) of both countries.

Both parties, while talking about opportunities for Pakistan in Nigeria, emphasized the need for enhanced cooperation in textile ginning, weaving and garments. In light of Nigeria being Africa’s largest oil producer, they also spoke on oil and gas sector ventures such as establishing oil refineries and import of petroleum, oil and lubricants to Pakistan at subsidized rates. The High Commissioner also stressed the need for technological development in the agricultural sector, such as establishment of tractor assembly plants in Nigeria to reduce reliance on imports of 10,000 tractors per year.