The board and management of Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), in collaboration with International Finance Corporation (IFC), yesterday held a working session for members in the private sector.
The theme of the session was “Corporate Governance, Better Practice, Better Companies” various professionals from the private sector, met at the Hub Hotel, Wilberforce to learn best practices on the need for corporate governance.
Welcoming participants to the one day working session, the Chairman and board of non-executive directors of CAC, Cecil Coker, said the session is a step in an effort by the commission to deliver to the nation, the much-needed assistance, in developing a good business climate and to do business anywhere in the country with ease.
In this regard, he called for more support from members in both public and private sector business noting that without their involvement, the commission will not be able to achieve its objective.
Mr Coker also urged public and private sector entrepreneurs to read and digest the amended Companies’ Act of 2014, which will serve as a guide in doing their business.
Representing the Office of the President, the Director for Performance Management, Abdulrahman Sowa commended the efforts of the Corporate Affairs Commission for creating a platform for engagement of partners in the corporate sector towards improving the corporate governance in Sierra Leone.
He stated that the session is an attempt by the commission to elevate corporate governance standards, which will work with companies with self-disciplinary mechanisms, and it is hoped that deliberations will lead to frank discussions that will ensure transparency and accountability in the management of corporate entities, so as to encourage and drive business growth in the country.
Mr Sowa assured participants that government is doing its best to improve on doing business rankings, create the enabling atmosphere for businesses to thrive.
On the other part, the representative from the Office of the President, noted that though companies’ major interest would be to maximise shareholder value, it should not be done at the detriment of other stakeholder interests, and these among others include disclosure and transparency in a timely manner, managing relationships between company and boards, ownership rights, regulations and compliance.
Charles MereWeather on behalf of the Ministry of Trade and Industry disclosed that he was proud to be part of history to witness the first public governance session organised for people in the private sector, which is clear that government is committed to further improve and bring sanity in both public and private sector investment. He said as a ministry providing oversight to the commission, it was right time to engage partners on the need for them to incorporate corporate governance in their various businesses, for better growth.
Mr MereWeather recalled the days, when to start doing business in the country will take not less than a week or two, which made it difficult for most foreign investors who did not have the time to waste and in the process will not get what they came for, but presently it is a one stop shop to register a business, and with the establishment of the CAC, life would be much healthier in doing business.
The Chief Executive Officer and Registrar, Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) Michala Mackay was happy that since the commission was established by an Act of Parliament, under the Office of the President and the Ministry of Trade and Industry, it is getting to where its mandate calls for.
She stated that the commission since its establishment has been working assiduously with other government and private sector functionaries to develop strategies and guidelines, which the commission will use in its operations over the years.
Madam Mackay, a legal luminary, took time to explain to participants how the commission will work, using the Companies’ Amendment Act of 2014 and the investors and directors handbook of doing business with ease, including a pocket-guide to protect investors.
She maintained that the CAC in a bid to promoting good corporate governance in Sierra Leone, the commission commenced a radio discussion to inform the public about the provisions of the act and in particular, duties of company directors and secretaries, who have the task of ensuring a company is at all times compliant.
The CEO assured participants that the commission will at all times provide timely and accurate information to its customers.