Sierra Leone Telegraph: 25 January 2019:
Vice president of Sierra Leone – Dr Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh, last Wednesday launched a new National Corporate Governance Code that will guide and improve the way businesses are governed in the country, through transparency and accountability. The document was launched at the Bintumani International Conference Centre in Aberdeen, Freetown.
Delivering his Keynote address, he spoke about the importance of the new Corporate Governance Code in helping president Bio and his ‘New Direction’ government to diversify the country’s economy. For the past decades, Sierra Leone’s economy has been running on a single track – minerals export.
This over-reliance on a single export commodity has made the economy more susceptible to Global economic shocks, which partly explains the government’s difficulty in expanding the country’s taxation base and increase government revenue.
Vice president Jalloh told the audience that the SLPP government is taking steps to create a favourable, business friendly and competitive investment environment, that will push the country forward.
He outlined some of the steps taken so far by president Bio, including advocating passionately for credible investments in Sierra Leone, as well as ensuring that governance institutions and the environment for trade and investments are simple, predictable and favourable.
The vice president said the president believes that, in order to maintain and sustain a fair, competitive and attractive business environment, there must be a clamp down on graft, predatory actors, and build the country’s regulatory framework and infrastructure to attract the partnership and investors needed to turn the economy around.
Vice president Jalloh said he is confident that the new Corporate Governance Code is an important step in the government’s drive to improve economic performance.
He said that president Bio has prioritised public financial management, charging his officials to look at the country’s tax regime with a view to making them predictable and simple to understand.
The vice president disclosed that the ‘New Direction’ government is on the verge of finalising the establishment of an Investment Board that will set a singular overarching strategy that prioritises the focus for investment – based on evidence, proactively seek and work with potential investors, and provide aftercare and problem solving facilities for established investors in the country.
Speaking at the launch, the Resident Representative of the International Finance Corporation (IFC), Mr Frank Ajilore, said that they at the IFC believe in the power of partnerships, and that it is a privilege to be working with the Corporate Affairs Commission.
He said the Corporate Governance Code 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 of promoting the adoption of corporate governance best practices and standards in alignment with regional priorities.
The Chief Executive Officer of the Corporate Affairs Commission, Madam Michelle 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.
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 efforts to promote governance, the Commission has produced the new National corporate Governance Code so as to provide guidance to private sector leaders 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 a series of reforms that are 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 central to the eight core priorities of the ‘New Direction’ government.
The aim of the ‘New Direction’ is to change the face of governance in Sierra Leone, through the adoption of the new Corporate Governance Code, says deputy minister of trade and industry – Mr Abraham Sesay-Jones,.