Muscat: The Oman Centre for Corporate Governance (OCCG), under the Capital Market Authority (CMA), in an effort to encourage good corporate governance, best practices, and governance standards, yesterday launched the Corporate Governance Excellence Award 2013.
Launching the awards, Abdullah bin Salem Al Salmi, executive president of the CMA, said, "The award is aimed at raising awareness of the benefits of greater transparency and accountability to stakeholders, driving innovative competition amongst Oman's best companies, and encouraging companies to comply with the code of corporate governance."
He also appealed to family-owned business entities, which do not fall under the CMA jurisdiction, to adhere to corporate governance standards and noted that corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives should be an integral component of their overall business policy and should be aligned with their business goals.
According to Hamid Sultan Al Busaidi, director of OCCG, "Companies are requested to confirm their participation in competing for the award via email by March 13 at OCCG@cma.gov.om. A confirmation response will be returned to the participants, along with the 2013 Corporate Governance Excellence Award questionnaire. The completed questionnaire, supporting documents, and annual reports for 2011 and 2012 must be submitted by April 8. Submissions must be in a digital format (CD or USB drive)."
Lathifa Al Bimany, corporate governance specialist at OCCG, stated, "The participating companies will be categorised as banking, finance, industry, and services and insurance.
The top three companies in each sector will be short-listed for an interview, and the final results will be given to an independent judging panel to select the winners. A winner will be announced in each of the four categories, and there will be runners-up awards for the second and third places. An overall winner will be announced from amongst the four winners in each category."
"The basis for assessment lies within the pillars of good corporate governance: Board independence and effectiveness, transparency and disclosure, control and risk management, shareholder rights and responsibilities, IT governance practices, corporate culture, and corporate social responsibility," she added.
Lathifa stated that the award ceremony will be organised by the OCCG and will take place in the third quarter of the year and that the participating companies will be invited to attend. "A detailed presentation will be made during the ceremony, demonstrating the trends in corporate governance that were noted amongst the participating companies. Reports on the performance of each company with regard to the questionnaire will be shared with all companies at the end of the competition," she explained.
In the future, the OCCG plans to introduce a governance magazine, which will cover issues related to corporate governance, CSR, and other relevant studies; undertake researches and studies for code issuing and modification; encourage corporate governance for family-owned businesses; create a corporate-governance code for state-owned enterprises and a code of corporate governance for closed companies; and produce training programmes, board secretary workshops, and compliance officer workshops.