In surprising turn of events – Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP) took notice of ‘ICAP notice’ where ICAP ordered audit firms to not to engage students of foreign qualifications, immediately after which panic had erupted among students and members of ACCA and ICAEW qualification.
And How This all Started?
This matter, which was supposed to be dealt between these professionals bodies seems to be getting out of their hands. Initially, there were around 800 ACCA students who were planning to perform a protest in front of ICAP offices in Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi. But the real protest was expected in Islamabad where in a dramatic turn – the local head of ACCA Islamabad Miss Noor Aftab along with other officials met with these students and the protest was called off.
After the protest was called off – many protesters reacted and blamed the organizers for ditching them. Although the truth is far from these allegation, as per our conversation with ACCA Pakistan.
EconomyAge contacted ACCA Pakistan before the planned date of this protest and the officials were worried that if ACCA students start taking matters into their own hands then this will put their negotiation with Institute of Chartered Accountants of Pakistan in trouble and the matter might get delayed further.
But the Show Continues
So who called Competition Commission into this matter? ACCA, ICAEW or CIMA?
If you’re guessing any of the above names then you’re wrong! It was those same students who are furious over delay in response from ACCA Pakistan.
“Many ACCA students emailed us and after looking into the number of emails and sensitivity of matter – Competition Commission decided to play its role by sending notices to all relevant bodies including ICAP and ACCA to submit their viewpoint on this”, told us Senior official of Competition Commission of Pakistan.
According to EconomyAge’s detailed discussion with an official at Competition Commission of Pakistan, she told us that CCP took this notice and is seeking viewpoint to determine if the conflict falls in their scope or not.
When asked if Competition Commission of Pakistan can intervene ICAP, since its a regulatory body and allowed by Ordinance to make laws relating to Accountancy profession in Pakistan, the official responded in affirmation. She said:
“Yes CCP can depending on situations. For instance, PTA is a regulatory body of telecom industry and State Bank is regulating Banking sector in Pakistan but when it comes to practices relating to competition and prices – it falls into CCP’s domain and we can intervene there.”
CCP said that an inquiry it will try to figure out if ICAP notice is negatively impacting the competition in Pakistan then it would intervene and will take corrective measures.
So how long could this take?, we asked the officials at CCP.
“Well, we are dependent on their initial responses. These bodies might ask for an extension to submit their response. Depending on the time they will take and depending on their initial response – we will investigate further if there is something CCP can do about it”, the official responded.
We were also told that CCP is well aware of the fact that ACCA members cannot sign audit report in Pakistan so there are possibilities that they might also seek a reasonable clarification about this practice as well.
Needless to say – this matter is taking unexpected turn for every stakeholder but the ultimate fate rests in the outcome of initial responses by these bodies.
Previous Actions Taken By Competition Commission
Competition Commission of Pakistan is responsible for regulating monopolistic practices in different sectors. Recently, Competition Commission was awarded as the best agency by London Based Competition Law Journal.
Just two weeks ago – Competition Commission imposed a massive penalty of Rs 77 Crore on Banking sector against unfair practices. CCP also initiated legal proceedings against PTCL and hammers Warid for running a deceptive campaign.
Competition Commission is Not New for ICAP
It would be interesting for our readers that both ICAP and CCP are not new to each other.
Almost Four years ago, Competition Commission issued an order against ICAP which accused them of fixing a minimum fees for audit engagement. But within days of this notice – ICAP filed an application to Appellate Bench for an interim relief.
- ICAP Decided to take a Stand on its Notice: Sources
- Breaking: Competition Commission Issued Show Cause Notice to ICAP
- Lahore High Court Gives Stay Order to ICAP
- CCP Soon to Pass Final Order in ACCA-ICAP Case
- Breaking: ICAP Notice Was not Aimed for ACCA and CIMA