ICAP yet to respond to Competition Commission’s penalty

Published: January 16, 2013

ICAP should act in sync with the industry norm rather than carving out an exception or creating a hegemony for itself with such [a] protectionist approach,” the CCP order said.

KARACHI: Institute of Chartered Accountants of Pakistan (ICAP) Secretary Shoaib Ahmed said on Tuesday that ICAP has yet to receive the formal order passed by the Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP), in which the latter imposed a Rs25 million penalty on the former – the country’s top accountancy body.

“We learned about the CCP’s decision against ICAP through newspapers. We have seen the order only on the CCP website so far. I cannot tell you right now whether we are going to pay the penalty or file an appeal against the order,” Ahmed said, while speaking to The Express Tribune.

Saying that the CCP is supposed to formally send a copy of its order to ICAP, Ahmed added that the ICAP management was in touch with legal advisers about how best to respond to the CCP order.

The CCP had imposed the penalty on ICAP on January 10, after declaring that a directive issued by the latter last year to its member organisations – asking them not to engage non-ICAP students as interns or trainees – as having had no legal basis.

ICAP had prohibited members and chartered accountant firms from training non-ICAP accountancy students, which led to the CCP taking note and issuing a show-cause notice on September 17 to the body for the violation of competitive practice laws.

In its response to the show-cause notice on September 12, ICAP stated that its approved training organisations can take any person for training, “but such [a] person needs to be registered with ICAP as a student.”

“All over the world, public practice runs multiple parallel training programmes for students affiliated with various professional accountancy bodies … ICAP should act in sync with the industry norm rather than carving out an exception or creating a hegemony for itself with such [a] protectionist approach,” the CCP order said.

The CCP had also sought opinion from the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), whose students were particularly affected by ICAP’s directive. According to the ACCA, requiring non-ICAP students to register with ICAP in order to get training at ICAP-approved training organisations increased the economic and academic burden on students, which would “unfairly persuade them to choose alternate qualifications.”

There are almost 325 approved trainers, including 147 public practice firms, for the ACCA qualification in Pakistan. Similarly, there are 174 ICAP-approved trainers, all of them public practice firms. The number of students registered with ICAP is approximately 55,000, as the average intake of students is 4,000 a year, with 900 students becoming eligible every year to seek training. Similarly, ACCA has 35,000 registered students, with 3,500 of them having passed their exams, but still required to complete training.

“The fact that, subsequent to the July directive, ACCA has seen an almost 55% decline in registration of students is also alarming. Competitors who have legitimately established themselves in the global market should not be subjected to such barriers,” the CCP said; adding that ICAP ought not to “discourage, discriminate or otherwise unequally treat” the growing number of a human resource essential for a vibrant economy.

The CCP has warned that the accountancy body will be liable to pay Rs1 million in penalty for every extra day it functions in violation of the order, in case it continues to ban non-ICAP students from their right to acquire training.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 16th, 2013.

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Reader Comments (9)

  • Usman786
    Jan 16, 2013 - 9:31PM

    Good step by CCP against the high headedness of ICAP. It should also give stern attention to cement cartel and poultery oligoply

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  • Makk
    Jan 17, 2013 - 12:04AM

    Great and Historic decision by CCP, the monopoly of ICAP is major barrier for economic growth of whole Pakistan.I recommend that open market environment should be created by ammending CA ordinance and granting other Accounting bodies(such as ACCA and ICAEW) right to provide audit and assurance services in Pakistan.

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  • haresh
    Jan 17, 2013 - 9:40AM

    so the question is how fruitful this decision is so far for the non-icap students. icap professed that they did not recieved any such notification directly. every minute is important for our careers and such delay causes iritation and dipressed us with potential unwanted result if any thing again goes wrong. we require ethically, morally, and professionally ccp they immediately ask or send formal decision to icap, for the hurry release of acca students in trainig programme. i am suffering from a year when i was only 4 paper far away from the affiliate and as i got this decision of icap. i felt no more justice available to us because we spent pounds in feeses and rupees as tution feeses , we are not so financially sound to afford any more years of studies and diversion to anyother qualification but we are intelligent, hardworker and ethically and morally addicted to code of conduct which can be expected of any Acca’s student.

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  • CHANDIO
    Jan 19, 2013 - 1:01AM

    I have gone through that CCP order, and that has disappointed me a lot as CCP has only considered ACCA and other foreign professional bodies’ students’ rights and not even considered ICAP’s students. Quite biased decision.

    Let me remind all my ACCA friends that ICAP trainees are not allowed to train in industry where as it is not the case for others, and also all audit firms are working under ICAP therefore ICAP student has to be put 1st in priority but as ACCAs are available at cheaper cost, these firms go for them.

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  • mustafa
    Jan 20, 2013 - 4:24PM

    one sided decision.

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  • raja saim advocate
    Feb 6, 2013 - 3:34PM

    barrister and al haq corporate law firm has done a lot for promoting education in the country and stood always by side of weak and aggrieved and we will feel pleasure to give free legal aid to the effected studetns. www. barrister-sa.pkRecommend

  • waseem
    Feb 6, 2013 - 10:20PM

    The CCP decision is purely on merit and in favour of Competition. Those How consider it not fair than remember that There is no room of Job for ICAP members around the globe, because every country has its own Accounting and Audit, if CCP decision is not fair than Pakistanis has no right to apply for jobs in other countries on the basis of Pakistani education especially ICAP members.

    I hope that Competent Appellete Court under Competition Commission Act i.e. Supreme Court wil not revert the decision of CCP to protect the employment rights of General Public on Internatioonal Location.

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  • mujahid
    Feb 14, 2013 - 8:57PM

    what is issue now a day ..whether icap appeal in the court or not ?i think ccp decision is good image for pakistan around the global eyes

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  • mujahid
    Feb 14, 2013 - 9:02PM

    whether icap appeal in the court or not? i think it is better decision by the ccp which improve the image of pakistan around the globe….

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