Muscat: Most of the listed companies in Oman have been adhering to corporate governance best practices but there are challenges that need to be looked into in order to achieve the aim, said Abdullah bin Salem Al Salmi, executive president of the Capital Market Authority (CMA).
Participating in a discussion on corporate governance and transparency at the OER top 20 awards held here yesterday, he observed, "If we look at Oman, we started talking about corporate governance in 1999 and came up with the initial Code of Corporate Governance corresponding to best international practices and standards in 2002. We cannot say that we have reached where we should have, but most of the listed companies are in compliance with the corporate governance norms. However, we need to further upgrade our practices."
Abdullah bin Salem Al Salmi said, "In a determined bid to encourage good corporate governance, best practices and governance standards, the CMA formed a committee headed by Hamid Sultan Al Busaidi, who is here today. The committee reviews implementation of corporate governance and updates us on issues and challenges related to it. We also need to distinguish between legal requirements and the governance requirements. Companies have to follow certain legal rules and so they have to comply with these rules."
"Corporate governance is a system that enables a company to police itself in order to safeguard the interests of the stakeholders. The stakeholders are its shareholders, government, vendors, employees, creditors and the society at large. The company has to consider all the parties when it comes to corporate governance.
"The culture of corporate governance has to be embedded into our business. It is just not enough to say that our company adheres to corporate governance norms but it needs to believe in these, and implement the same," he further added.
Dr Amer bin Awadh Al Rawas, chief executive officer of Omantel, said that corporate governance is an enabler of business, a driver of long-term sustainability and motivates us to perform with a
sense of belief.
The panel discussion also covered a range of topics like principles of good governance, culture of corporate governance, internal controls and audits, risk management and composition of the board of directors to name a few.
Sanjay Kawatra, audit partner at Ernst &Young, and Alfred Strolla, office managing partner, Deloitte and Touche, Middle East, also participated in the panel discussion. The discussion was moderated by Majid Al Toky, managing partner of Trowers & Hamlins.
Training at the centre
It may be noted that the Oman Centre for Corporate Governance was formed by the CMA in order to train and qualify directors and executive managers to implement best practices to promote sound corporate governance in public companies operating in Oman.
The centre launched the Corporate Governance Excellence Award, and also held a number of training activities aimed to promote awareness among responsible persons about corporate governance.