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Energy Chamber tackles T&T’s poor corporate governance
Based on the latest Global Competitiveness Index (GCI) Report 2013-2014, T&T’s companies’ adherence to strong corporate governance principles still leave much to be desired, the T&T Energy Chamber said in a statement. According to the index, T&T ranks 92 out of 148 countries (a score of 3.6), and is outperformed by neighbours Barbados and Jamaica, and competitors for oil and gas investment—Qatar, Malaysia and Bahrain. The Chamber noted: “Trinidad and Tobago performed poorly as it relates to diversion of public funds, public trust in politicians, irregular payments and bribes, favouritism in decisions of Government officials, ethical behaviour of firms, strength of auditing and reporting standards, the efficacy of State Boards, and the protection of minority shareholders’ interests. “Further exacerbating this dilemma, are factors such as corruption, inefficient government bureaucracy, poor work ethic in national labour force, crime and theft, which are cited in the report as the major barriers for doing business in Trinidad and Tobago. This underscores T&T’s need to improve its corporate governance systems and accounting controls.”
The GCI rankings for T&T under various headings out of 148 countries are:
• Diversion of public funds—89
• Public trust in politicians—111
• Irregular payments and bribes—95
• Favouritism in decisions of Government officials—125
• Ethical behaviour of firms—118
• Strength of auditing and reporting standards—95
• Efficacy of State Boards—116
• Protection of Minority shareholder’s interest—111
The Energy Chamber said it has been seeking ways to improve corporate governance in T&T and is hosting a series of workshops “to help unmask the ambiguity surrounding corporate governance and to help public and private companies and NGOs realise its benefits.” “The workshops share best practice with different stakeholders highlighting appropriate systems, training, and tools to assist them in improving their corporate governance practices,” the group said.“Firstly, participants are provided with guidelines on proper governance practices and an outline of the legal corporate governance requirements in T&T for different kinds of companies. Participants are given a crash course on how to maximise the benefits of good corporate governance while minimising the cost of implementation plus given insight on how best practices are applied in a T&T context for closely held companies (eg family owned businesses), listed companies and state-owned enterprises. “Feedback is also given on how to benchmark your organisation’s corporate governance practices against 4 levels of corporate governance implementation standards.”
For information on the Corporate Governance workshops, email [email protected].