Freetown January 23rd, 2019: the Hon. Vice President Dr Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh on Wednesday, 23rd January, 2019 on behalf of His Excellency Rtd Brigadier Julius Maada Bio launched the national Corporate Governance Code at the Bintumani International Conference Centre in Aberdeen, Freetown.
Delivering the Keynote Speech on behalf of His Excellency President Julius Maada Bio, the Hon. Vice President told the gathering that the launching of the Corporate Governance Code was very important to His Excellency and that, it was good timing for the ‘New Direction’ for several reasons but more importantly, as the Government is serious and determined to diversify the country’s economy.
Therefore, he added, they have to create the kind of competitive investment environment that the country needs to move forward.
VP Jalloh outlined some of the steps taken so far by His Excellency, which among them he said, the President has been advocating passionately for credible investments in Sierra Leone and has argued for the need to prime the country’s economy for investment by making governance institutions and the environment for trade and investment simple, predictable and favourable.
He maintained that, the President has also consistently reasoned that, in order to maintain and sustain a fair, competitive and attractive business environment, they must clamp down on graft, predatory actors and build the regulatory framework and infrastructure to attract the partnership and investors needed to turn around the economy.
VP Jalloh said he was confident that the Code was no doubt a priority start for His Excellency’s drive.
He went on to state that, His Excellency has prioritized public financial management and has charged his officials to look at tax regimes with a view to making them predictable and simple to understand.
The Vice President disclosed that the ‘New Direction’ government is on the verge to finalize the establishment of an Investment Board that will set a singular overarching strategy that prioritises the focus for investment based on evidence and proactively seeks and works with potential investors and provides aftercare and problem solving facilities for established investors.
He concluded by assuring the gathering of His Excellency President Julius Maada Bio’s commitment in reviewing and adopting the country’s first National Corporate Governance Code.
The Resident Representative of the International Finance Corporation (IFC), Mr Frank Ajilore in his statement said, that they at the IFC believed in the power of partnerships and that it was a privilege to work with the Corporate Affairs Commission.
He said the Code of Corporate Governance is in their experience one of the most powerful elements in building sustainable corporations that can actively contribute to building the economy of Sierra Leone.
The Corporate Governance Programme, Mr Ajilore said is a four year programme with the main objective to promote the adoption of corporate governance best practices and standards in alignment with regional priorities.
In her statement, the Chief Executive Officer of Corporate Affairs Commission, Madam Michael Mackay said one of the pillars for the promotion of transparency and accountability is good governance.
Good governance, she said, refers to the adherence to laid down principles, rules, regulations, structures and best practice that lead to the achievement of set results at both central and local governance levels as well as in public and private sectors.
Giving a synopsis of the establishment of the Code, Madam Mackay explained that, due to the growing demand on public and private entities to be more accountable and transparent to the people of Sierra Leone and the need to address challenges that impede the efforts to promote governance, her Commission deemed it necessary to develop a National corporate Governance Code for the country so as to guide Boards and Management on their governance functions, roles and responsibilities.
The Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Mr Abraham Sesay-Jones in his remarks said his ministry is currently undergoing series of reforms geared towards promoting more trade, open up the market to allow more players and discouraging monopoly.
He said transparency and accountability in governance has been identified as one of the 8 core priorities of the ‘New Direction’ government adding that the drive of the ‘New Direction’ is to change the face of governance through the adoption of the Code.