'Focus needs to be on capital market for economic expansion'

FE Report | Published: September 24, 2018 09:50:46 | Updated: September 25, 2018 11:41:38


FE file photo used for representation

Capital market should be the key funding source for Bangladesh's future economic expansion instead of banks and financial institutions, experts said.

Such shift is also necessary to attain sustainable development goals (SDGs) as some 42 per cent of the SDG financing here should come from the private sector.

They made the views at an international conference on 'Achieving Sustainable Development Goals: Challenges and Way Forward' in Dhaka on Sunday.

The Institute of Cost and Management Accountants of Bangladesh (ICMAB) organised the daylong event.

"Stocks should evolve as the main source of capital for economic expansion," said Md Kausar Alam, chief financial officer of Seven Circle Bangladesh, a leading local business entity.

"Banks and NBFIs [non-banking financial institutions] together are still a major source of funding for Bangladesh economy," he added.

"But this [source] should be gradually shifted to the capital market," Mr Alam said while speaking on the role of professional accountants in achieving SDGs.

"Banks have helped make entrepreneurs and a strong private sector since our liberation, but studies show the accountability scenario is not up to the mark…"

Banks have become family-oriented and the boards of directors are actively involved in the management, the senior corporate official said.

Adherence to law is not adequate and internal control system along with accounting and audit qualities are insufficient, Mr Alam mentioned.

Against this backdrop, he said, stock exchanges should become a more reliable source of financing to ensure a sustainable money market.

"Sustainable Stock Exchanges Initiative should play a significant role in this regard and stock exchanges should drive value for all stakeholders," he suggested.

Earlier, speaking during the inaugural ceremony of the conference, Finance Minister AMA Muhith put emphasis on the strengthening of regional cooperation.

"It's a matter of shame that South Asian countries have not been able to reduce trade barriers between themselves when compared to their Southeast Asian neighbours," he said.

However, goodwill between the countries has led to significant expansion of Sino-Bangla trade and Indo-Bangla trade in recent years, Mr Muhith stated.

"This trend would continue in the coming decades," he hoped.

UN Resident Representative in Bangladesh Mia Seppo said mobilising resources for SDGs requires expansion of tax base, tax reforms and public-private partnership.

"Bringing together the right stakeholders is the number-one challenge of implementing SDGs," said Dr Swapan Kumar Bala, commissioner at Bangladesh Securities and Exchange Commission.

"The other big challenge is building accountability actions. There are some conflicting issues which require some serious trade-off," he added.

Pietro Bertazzi, head of sustainable development at Global Reporting Initiative, said the governments globally are increasingly consulting the private sector in the implementation of SDGs.

His organisation in collaboration with UN Global Compact and World Business Council for Sustainable Development has developed SDG Compass.

It is a guide to help businesses align their strategies with the SDGs and measure and manage their contribution, Mr Bertazzi argued.

AN Raman, former president of South Asian Federation for Accountants, called for a certain measurement mechanism to perform outcome audit of how SDGs are being achieved in Bangladesh.

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