A new report that looks at corporate governance requirements across global markets, which was done by KPMG, a network of professional service firms providing audit, tax and advisory services in association with ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) has ranked Uganda as the 5th best out of the 25 economies considered in Africa, as far as terms of corporate management requirements.
Ranked just behind South Africa, Kenya, Mauritius and Nigeria respectively, Uganda’s positive performance was based on the corporate governance framework in the country that comprises of the Uganda Securities Exchange Listing Rules, 2003; the Capital Markets Authority Act, Cap 84 (amended 2011 and 2016); the Companies Act, 2012; and two sets of voluntary guidelines for listed companies issued by the Institute of Corporate Governance of Uganda (ICGU) and the Capital Market Authority (CMA).
Edgar Isingoma, the new chairman KPMG while presenting the report at the ACCA workshop that was organized by ACCA and KPMG at Imperial Royale Hotel on Wednesday, said that these results were good for the country but needed government to implement them to affect the GDP positively.
“Having high standard corporate governance frameworks in place at national levels is fundamental. It facilitates market confidence and business integrity. It signals governments’ commitment to create credible arrangements for investors, taking their rights into consideration and providing support mechanisms that safeguard their investment. It is therefore no coincidence that, in its Reports on the Observance of Standards and Codes, the World Bank evaluates corporate governance as a key indicator of a market’s resilience and the potential for capital markets to develop,” Isingoma said.
He added: “The reports show that overall there is some correlation between GDP per capita and the clarity and completeness of corporate governance requirements. There appears to be less correlation between the average market capitalization and the maturity of corporate governance frameworks. The markets with the highest GDP per capita (Mauritius and South Africa) have better-defined corporate governance requirements. In contrast, markets with the lowest GDP per capita (Ethiopia and Malawi), generally have less clearly- defined corporate governance requirements.’’
However, there are some exceptions to this observation: Uganda has well-defined corporate governance requirements in place, yet has a relatively low GDP per capita, whereas Tunisia has less-well-defined corporate governance requirements despite relatively high GDP per capita.
He continued: “However, this ranking is different for Uganda. As much as we have the codes and regulations in place, our economy is still performing poorly in terms of GDP and attracting direct foreign investment. This is because these regulations put in place are not well managed.”
Isingoma asked the government and companies to implement the existing regulations so that Ugandan can become an attractive economy for investment as well as help the general public from poverty.
Beatrice Isagayite, head of ACCCA Uganda, asked the accountants to learn to appreciate their roles in developing the economy because accountancy is very critical in efficiency and sustainability of companies.