London, 27 February 2015 – Professor E Tumusiime-Mutebile, Governor of the Bank of Uganda, gave Ugandan businesses a warning shot across the bow in his opening address at the fourth annual conference for directors and company secretaries in Kampala yesterday. Addressing delegates, he called for a change in attitudes towards corporate governance if the Ugandan business sector is to thrive and compete in the global markets.
The theme of the conference, which was jointly organised by ICSA’s Ugandan branch and the Ugandan Capital Markets Authority, was ‘Access to Finance through Good Governance’, an issue close to the governor’s heart “because of the very important role which the financial system plays in allocating scarce resources within the economy to ensure that they are used optimally.”
Professor Tumusiime-Mutebile warned borrowers in the private sector that they cannot realistically expect to access finance unless they can meet minimum standards of corporate governance. “Companies that practice good corporate governance are much more likely to be able to command the confidence of financial institutions and thereby obtain access to finance than companies that do not,” he told delegates.
He encouraged companies to:
Reminding delegates that good corporate governance is an absolute prerequisite for any company wishing to issue securities on the stock exchange, he encouraged borrowers in the private sector to follow their lead. One of the reasons why so many Ugandan firms are unable to expand their operations and upgrade their technology is because banks and other lenders are weary about extending credit to companies where there is a lack of transparency and sound management structures, he stressed.
Simon Osborne, Chief Executive of ICSA, who launched the Henley Business School research ‘The Company Secretary: Building trust through governance’ at the conference, told delegates that “Company secretaries, as the ‘guardians of good governance’, are best placed to help companies achieve their corporate governance objectives.”
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Notes to Editors: