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Adopt Corporate Governance Code

Tuesday, April 15 2014

FINANCE and the Economy Minister Larry Howai yesterday urged heads of State boards to encourage their respective organisations to adopt the TT Corporate Governance Code.

Speaking at a State boards seminar on corporate governance hosted by his ministry, Howai impressed upon board heads the urgent need to implement the code, which he said will lead to greater transparency and accountability and by extension improve the efficiency and delivery of service to the public by their organisations.

“Good corporate governance and ethical conduct are central to a more stable business environment and the role and contribution of the board of directors (in both the public and private sectors) in establishing ethical standards, and good governance is critical,” Howai said.

He told the directors of the need for them to treat their positions with the highest degree of respect and stated that there was a continual need to reinforce public confidence in the positions which they hold.

“In my capacity as Corporation Sole, I am focused on adding value to ‘societal shareholders’, that is, adding value to society and protecting the public interest. As such, this seminar is geared towards enhancing the way the assets and resources of the State enterprise sector is managed.”

Howai reminded the directors of the requirements of Section 99(1) of the Companies Act which mandates that all directors of companies must act honestly and in good faith when discharging their duties and exercise the necessary care, diligence and skill in the execution of their powers.

Howai also urged directors to internalise all other pieces of legislation which treat with the conduct of directors of State entities while urging them to also abide by the State Enterprises Performance Monitoring Manual of the Ministry of Finance and the Economy.

He stressed that directors of State enterprises are charged with the responsibility of safeguarding the resources of their respective institutions by ensuring that value for money is obtained at all times, adding that decisions made must be both justifiable and capable of withstanding public scrutiny.

The discussions, Howai said, were intended to concretise the expectations of directors and impress upon them the urgent need for their actions to be guided by the conditions of the prevailing macro-economy, the nature of the industry and the adoption of good corporate governance principles and practices.

“As members of State boards you are an important part of the system of checks and balances instituted to ensure that there is no abuse of power and that decisions are made in the institution’s and the nation’s best interests,” he stated.

The minister announced that a new semi-automated process of monitoring State agencies will be implemented within the next 12 months and is intended to bring about significant changes in the operations of all stakeholders.

Directors were also advised that the Ministry of Finance and the Economy will be more active and vigilant in the coming months in the review of business plans, and minutes of board meetings as well as in ensuring compliance with the measures outlined in the State Enterprise Monitoring Manual.

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