By Jeff Andrew Lule
The Institute Corporate Governance Uganda (ICGU) has awarded outstanding companies/firms for upholding the Corporate Governance principles.
The 2nd annual awards 2022, a prestigious event climaxed at Mestil Hotel in Nsabya, Kampala after a long period of assessment of over 350 companies.
The assessments focused on hygiene checks on operations specifically on; accountability, transparency, integrity, responsibility, compliance, excellence, and on governance (board processes, board contributions, board independence. Board diversity, Environmental, Social and Governance-ESG strategy, and the board oversight role).
The scores in the various assessments informed the winners of awards in the various categories including: the public sector, NGOs, SMEs, Large Private Sector, Banks, and Insurance.
The awards were sponsored by Vision Group, Grant Thornton, Uganda (GT), Diamond Trust Bank (DTB), and Centenary Bank. The event saw 17 companies walk away with awards and certificates in six categories.
Obote Milton Foundation merged the overall winner of the Small Medium Enterprises (SMEs) category while Willis Towers Watson took the first runners up.
Compassion International took the NGO category followed by Uganda Protestant Medical Bureau and African Population Institute as the first and second runners-up.
The Insurance Category overall award was scooped by Jubilee Life Insurance followed by Liberty Life Insurance, and Britam Insurance respectively.
The nationals Electricity Regulatory Authority (ERA) won the public sector category followed National Social Security Fund (NSSF) and Uganda Development Bank (UDB).
Stanbic Holdings Uganda Limited scooped the large private sector category with a turnover in excess of sh20bn; followed by Joint Medical Stores, and Kakira Sugar Factory; while NCB Bank won the bank category, followed by Stanbic Bank and Mercantile Bank
.The ICGU President, Michael Mugabi said the turn-up and participation of different firms in the awards show there is enthusiastic interest and passion for good corporate governance practices
.“The exercise was voluntary, no one was forced. These companies and organizations said we are here, subjecting ourselves to being assessed and evaluated,” he added.
He added: Accountability is one thing many people want to shun away, but there is no way the country can build credible institutions if we don’t subject ourselves to high standards of accountability in terms of how we rate, and how we run organisations.”
In his speech delivered by the Deputy Secretary to the Treasury, Patrick Ocailap, the Minister of Finance, Planning and Economic Development (MoFPED), Matia Kasaija commended the ICGU for presenting a platform for organisations both public and private sectors to be assessed, benchmarked and ranked on compliance and adherence to international acceptable CGPs and codes of best ethics and practice.
He stressed that corporate governance is a tool for social transformation and development, which every firm needs to embrace.
Kasaija said in an emerging economy like Uganda which is at the turning point to becoming a middle-income country, corporate governance plays a critical role in the survival, recovery, and build the resilience of ‘our SMEs’ as well as large companies (whether they are already listed or are being prepared to list in the stock exchange).
According to the Uganda Registration Services Bureau (URSB), show that up to 60% of registered companies do not survive their second birthday, largely attributed to mainly attributed to poor governance and how businesses are handled.
The vice-president of the institute, Geoffrey Kihuguru explained that many companies fail in the shortest time due to a lack of corporate governance structures. He noted that corporate failure comes with grave effects like loss of jobs, which affects people’s sources of income and the economy.All winners and dignitaries were also given a tree seedling by Hajat Aphwa Sebyala the founder of greening Uganda.