Due to disruptions in office activities in the ongoing lockdown, listed companies have requested the securities regulator to relax the deadline to submit audited annual financial statements and unaudited quarterly statements.
The Bangladesh Association of Publicly Listed Companies (BAPLC) has said the companies are facing difficulties to prepare, get audited, and to submit their financial statements in time for the countrywide restrictions put in place to curb the alarming surge in coronavirus cases.
In a letter to the Bangladesh Securities and Exchange Commission (BSEC) Chairman Professor Shibli Rubayat-Ul-Islam last week, the BAPLC said banks, non-bank financial institutions, insurances, and most multinational companies have closed their accounting year on 31 December.
According to the rules, it said, the companies have to accomplish the financial statement preparations and external audits within the next 120 days and submit the statement copies by the 14 following days.
Hence, the above listed companies have to submit their 2020 annual statements by 14 May 2021.
Also, they have their deadline on 15 May to submit the unaudited statements for the January-March quarter of this year as companies get 45 days to submit their first quarterly statements and 30 days for the second and the third quarterly statements since the end of the respective quarters.
Besides, the listed companies are also scheduled to submit their January-March statements by April.
The BAPLC letter said that many CA firms withdrew their audit teams and abstained from conducting external audits for the time being on the ground of a worsening Covid-19 situation even when offices were allowed to partially operate until the country went into a complete lockdown for a week on 14 April.
"The regular activities of the listed companies were also being interrupted for operating offices with a limited number of employees," it added.
Amid the weeklong complete lockdown, the listed companies are having no employees at their offices.
In these circumstances, the financial statement-related deadlines would not be feasible and the BAPLC sought regulatory relaxation in this regard until the pandemic situation improves.
BAPLC Secretary General Amzad Hossain told The Business Standard, "We expect that like the previous year, the BSEC will support us considering the ongoing situation."
In 2020, the regulator discarded the 66 days of the nationwide shutdown while counting the deadlines related to financial statements.
Also the BSEC amended its regulations related to how listed companies conduct their board meetings and shareholders' general meetings.
Now the meetings can be held online, of course with proper procedures and records ensured.
Also, the learning of the 2020 pandemic situation made the regulator push the market infrastructure entities going fruitfully online so that the market can keep trading during a lockdown situation.
Unlike that in 2020, this time both the bourses are running with telephonic and internet buy-sale orders at brokerage houses and the market turnover is also at a level not less than the pre-lockdown sessions.
Over the last three sessions, major market indices at the bourses of Dhaka and Chattogram recovered their pre-lockdown panic falls, offering relief to the frightened investors.