Sierra Leone gets first national Corporate Governance code

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January 25, 2019

By Regina Pratt

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Corporate Affairs CEO-Michaela Mackay making a presentation

Vice President Dr. Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh has on Wednesday launched the first ever National Corporate Governance Code at the Bintumani Hotel, Aberdeen, on the theme: “Restoring Respectability and Accountability is Essential to the Economic and Fiscal Health of our Nation.”

Speaking at the launch,Dr. Jalloh said government was working audaciously to rationalise boards, agencies and commissions, with the hope to making them viable and more proactive, adding that at the completion of those processes, they would be able to address some of the challenges outlined.

He disclosed that the president was in the process of establishing the investment board, thus thanking the International Finance Corporation (IFC), Corporate Governance Affairs staffs, World Bank, Trade Ministry, and other key stakeholders for drafting and finalising the Governance Code.

Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Reverend Sesay Jones, stressed that the ease of doing business was a strategic priority for government and that the ministry was in the process of recruiting more technical staff and reviewing obsolete policies.

“The ministry is facilitating the establishment of one industry in each of the sixteen districts and also working on the resuscitation of the current market in the Kailahun district, with  support to small, medium and large scale businesses, local content and the made in Sierra Leone products,” he said.

He said the government of President Bio has realised that the World Bank country policy and institutional assessment policy reported a rather low rating of governance code in Sierra Leone.

IFC Representative, Global Senior Corporate Governance Officer, Roman Zyla, congratulated Sierra Leone for joining other markets in the world and setting standards for companies operating in the country.

He stated that the IFC sets standards for governments and that their technology was being used in more than 45 countries.

Zyla said the drafting process of the code was rooted from countries like Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya and the IFC Code in the United Kingdom

He said Sierra Leone‘s Corporate Governance Code was an extensive one, and that they hope to  undertake support to small scale companies and governance structures.

The Resident Representative of IFC, Frank Ajilore, said they would continue to support the government of Sierra Leone, as they believed in the powers of partnership.

He said the IFC is a member of the World Bank Group and the largest global development institution,focused on the private sector in emerging markets.

Ajilore said that: “our wish is that the development of the code is merely the start of a journey towards a prosperous and thriving corporate community in Sierra Leone.”

Summarizing the Code, Chief Executive Officer of Corporate Affairs Commission, Michaela Mackay, noted that the drafting of the code started in 2016 and was adopted by cabinet in September 2018 as a national document.

She said there was a growing demand from the public and private companies that they should be more accountable to the people, adding that one of the pillars for promoting transparency and accountability is good governance.

Madam Mackay said the application of the code will provide guidance to boards, management and organizations operating in the country.

She also dilated on the concept of corporate governance, its principles and ethical guidelines and codes, which she said, were useful tools to guide the behaviour of organizations.

The CEO commended the public and private sectors, civil society groups, BMT law firm, and the World Bank Group in Sierra Leone for their support in putting the document together.