International Financial Reporting Standards (“IFRS”) have been established with the goal of creating internationally recognised set of accounting standards that bring transparency, accountability and efficiency to financial markets around the world. Although the current national accounting standards —Tunisian Accounting Standards (“TAS”) – have naturally been converging with IFRS, Tunisia is one of the very few countries where IFRS are not applied and this acts as a negative factor towards foreign investment. Recently, the country decided to undertake the transition towards IFRS. The Conseil National de la Comptabilité (CNC) is one of the three accounting regulation bodies in Tunisia and is responsible to review and issue corporate accounting standards subject to approval by the Ministry of Finance. In September 2018, the CNC announced the adoption of international accounting standards IAS/IFRS by 2021 for the preparation of consolidation of financial statements for all listed companies and financial institutions (banks, insurance companies, leasing companies and microfinance institutions). This transition to the adoption of IFRS by financial institutions by 2021 is challenging for two main reasons: (i) the adoption timeframe is tight and only few financial institutions – mostly the foreign banks’ subsidiaries - currently comply with IFRS reporting and for consolidation purposes only; (ii) significant adoption and implementation costs are expected for financial institutions in relation to the training of accountants and other professionals, including for the required reorganisation and information systems changes. Moreoever, the change of standards are likely to have a negative impact on the capitalisation of some of the banks. The Central Bank of Tunisia (CBT) is leading the transition of the financial sector towards IFRS from a prudential point of view. Its commitment to the reform is reflected in the inclusion of the convergence towards international standards (Basel II and III and IFRS) as a priority in its new strategical plan for the period 2019-2021. It has also created of an ad-hoc committee in charge of the strategic coordination between the various stakeholders (CBT, CNC, banks) and issued a circular in January 2020 outlining the preliminary measures to be taken by financial institutions for the IFRS transition. The CBT has requested assistance from the EBRD to support the adoption and implementation of IFRS (‘the Project’), so as to align local accounting standards with international best practices by 2021. This request builds on the achievements of EBRD’s programme provided on IFRS in Tunisia since 2018, which included notably the delivery of an EBRD commissioned study comparing the TAS and IFRS and an IFRS training programme for accounting professional in financial institutions. The Project will have a systemic impact on the financial sector insofar as the adoption of IFRS accounting standards is expected to ultimately (i) foster transparency by enhancing the international comparability and quality of financial information, enabling investors and other market participants to make informed economic decisions, (ii) strengthen accountability and (iii) contribute to economic efficiency by helping investors to identify opportunities and risks across the world, thus improving capital allocation. The Project will complement the support provided by other IFIs: the World Bank is supporting three authorities (Ministry of Finance, Autorité de Contrôle de la Microfinance and Comité Général des Assurances) on IFRS implementation and the IMF is working with the CBT on prudential reforms aimed at convergence towards Basel III standards by 2021, respectively. These projects are complementary to this assignment and EBRD has already established communication channels with both IFIs for close coordination.
This TC Project is financing one Assignment. The EBRD intends to engage a consultant (“the Consultant”) to support to the Central Bank in the adoption and implementation of IFRS in the banking sector. In order to achieve the objectives of the assignment, the Consultant will:
Provide information on the regulatory and operational frameworks adopted by comparator countries (central banks and/or prudential supervisors) for the application of IFRS 9 , which are pertinent to the Tunisian case and whose experience can be drawn upon
Review and evaluate the implementation of IFRS by Tunisian Financial Institutions, FIs: (i) assessment of strategic plans and roadmaps prepared by the FIs, (ii) review the adequacy of policies, procedures, risk management framework, governance and internal control system of FIs with regard to the application of IFRS and (iii) carry out a first a macro impact study of the adoption of IFRS on the financial situation and equity of FIs
Undertake an impact assessment of the implementation of IFRS 9, including determining the methodology, data and information required and analsyis of the impact of the application of IFRS 9 on the financial situation and the solvency ratios of FI
Support the CBT in the design of a regulatory framework relating to the application of the IFRS and in particular IFRS 9 (including recast and updates of certain circulars and a methodology guide)
Review of the first application of IFRS by FIs and examination of the main shortcomings
Provide support to the CBT project team on the technical aspects after the implementation of IFRS9: (i) design a supervisory monitoring manual, (ii) design specific reporting templates to be used by FIs to the CBT related to IFRS ; (iii) provide assistance to the CBT project team in the interpretation and analysis of the results of the application of IFRS 9, particularly in terms of validation of the models for calculating the expected credit loss and the internal rating system
Provide tailored capacity building to CBT staff through transfer of knowledge and skills (identify the gaps in knowledge and skills of the staff involved in the supervision of FIs with a view to implementing IFRS standards and in particular IFRS 9; deliver a tailored training program to meet the relevant staff’s training needs, covering the technical aspects related to the implementation of IFRS 9, in particular in terms of impairments, monitoring and validation of models)
- Support the CBT project team in the coordination of the ad-hoc Committee (including preparation of reports as well as internal and external communication relating to the project) The Project is expected to have a duration of three years, but may be extended in time subject to the pace of implementation and the needs identified at that time.
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