Christine Kyeyune Kawooya, Chief Executive Officer of ICGU opened the floor by welcoming H.E. President of the Republic of Uganda, represented by Hon. Muruli Mukasa, Minister of Public Service. After observing all protocols, she said: “Corporate Governance is a key driver to attaining Uganda’s middle-income status.” Adding that “the Institute was launched in the year 2000 at the on-set of privatization and it is a membership-based organization. The Institute established a strategic path along five key objectives –
- building national capacity in corporate governance,
- broad communication on corporate governance and building awareness of ICGU,
- advocacy for targeted laws and policies to enhance corporate governance,
- membership development and
- sustainability of the institute as an organization.
In this regard, the 14th public lecture has been organized.
Governance is an engine of growth to any organization's success and it subsequently leads to a country’s attraction to local and foreign investments. At ICGU, we strive to attain the desired levels of good governance to propel Uganda to the middle-income status by engaging the public and private sectors to adopt the right corporate culture through training, advisory services, and board evaluations.”
Christine then introduced the event MC, Mustapha B Mugisa, who then invited the President of the Institute.
The CEO Housing Finance Bank, and President of the Institute of Corporate Governance of Uganda, Michael Mugabi, welcomed the President’s representative, Minister of Public Service and the Minister of Finance to the Lecture, underscoring that “it demonstrates the government's commitment to good governance. Your Excellency, thanks a lot for your leadership. Allow me to thank the Ministry of Finance and Bank of Uganda for the continued support to the Institute. With this support, the Institute has been able to train many Board members thereby promoting good governance.”
He added “Your Excellency, today’s theme is “corporate culture, enforcement, values, and the practice – fostering Uganda’s middle-income status. This is informed by the fact that corporate governance strengthens the strategic competitiveness of Uganda. A culture of corporate governance is the oil that drives value addition for shareholder growth.”
The Guest of Honor was His Excellency the President of Uganda, represented by the Minister of Public Service, Hon. Wilson Muruli Mukasa. Also present was the Minister of Finance, Hon. Matia Kasaija.
Speaking at the event, Hon. Matia Kasaija said that:
- The Institute of Corporate Governance of Uganda (ICGU) was established in early 2000 with the support of the Ministry of Finance and Bank of Uganda at the start of Privatisation in Uganda to help the newly privatized entities be supported in setting up effective corporate governance structures for competitiveness and sustainability.
- Thanked the ICGU leadership for the work done over the years specifically for organizing public lectures that help deepen awareness about corporate governance
- Speaking close to home, He said that corporate governance is an important aspect of our lives and it starts in homes. “When a child says that they have found someone to marry them, parents often ask “from which family?” We all know that families who are stable and progressive, embrace good corporate values. A child that has grown in love, good administration, respect, and hard work is good marriage material. And for that reason, the Banyoro say “aswera akaguza” loosely translated to mean ‘anyone who intends to marry first asks’. If the family of the potential partner to be is practices good values, they are not night dancers. They don’t have a record of stealing. They don’t have petty thieves – the child who has grown in such a family would most likely make a great marriage.
- As a true NRM cadre, the Minister said that good governance delivers peace, which attracts investors both local and international.
- He further said that “corporate governance is an ideology that must be nurtured and promoted for it to be embraced and survive. He advised the ICGU to prioritize advocacy and sensitization. In his typical style, he asked: “Why do we have Bishops, Priests, Churches and key events like Easter and Christmas?” The answer is so that we keep remembering about our Lord Jesus Christ. So, when it comes to “ideology” there is no ‘arriving’, one must continue creating awareness and sensitization efforts. And added that “we human beings easily forget. We forget quickly. That is why you hear some people say that NRM has done nothing. Really! And then you have these new entrants, the children which NRM immunized and saved them from death saying that “we have done nothing?”.
- He concluded thanking the Institute for the public lecture and that His office is open to support the Institute both in Cabinet and Parliament with the Corporate Governance Law. This will help in mainstream good governance across the government institutions.
The Minister then invited the Guest of Honor, H.E The President, represented by Minister of Public Service, Hon. Wilson Muruli Mukasa.
Like Matia Kasaija, kept is short and to the point. He read the President’s speech verbatim, with high clarity of diction. Reading the speech of the President to the audience, below are extracts from the speech I noted;
- At 22 years, I joined an effort with my colleague, Mwesigwa Black, to address an issue that was close to my heart. In our village, our people were nomadic pastoralists with old fashioned farming practices. The result was massive poverty and death from preventable causes. My assessment was that the cure to their challenges was “attitude change.”
- Over the years, I have not only told the Banyankore about corporate governance and its importance but the country at large. This has now turned Uganda into a bastion of opportunities. Today, Ugandans enjoy unprecedented advantages – peace, good road network, backbone infrastructure for fast Internet access, and many more.
- All these have reduced the costs of doing business and education.
- In April 1998, Mzee Mulwana and I started the Uganda Manufacturers Association (UMA) – to bring manufacturers together so that they may easily be supported to grow. Now, the opportunities are so many in Uganda. All you must address is mindset and attitude.
- To this end, I have been traveling the country to address this issue of mindset.
And then came Dr. Fred Muhumuza, the Keynote speaker, on the podium. To read the full speech, click here.
To download the speech PPT summary, click here.
Below are the notes I made:
- The human stomach is ready to digest anything you eat. There must be a mechanism to regulate what you eat because we humans have natural greed that could lead to self-destruction. Just as the human body needs self-control, organizations need corporate governance.
- When our farm produce is bad, we blame the drought. Yet what we need is good governance. In the fishing sector, Uganda is losing almost US $30m per month in tax revenue. A foreign country is known as the largest Nile Perch exporter. Yet Nile Perch is only from Uganda. Today, Uganda lacks a factory to process fish. All fish goes to the neighboring country for processing. Why?
- My appreciation of corporate governance is attributed to my experience as an Advisor to the Minister of Finance and my role as a Board member on Indian based banks, with presence in Uganda, as well as my research experience. Hon. Minister of Finance, I request you to assign someone to start drafting a bill for corporate governance so that any person who intends to serve as a Board member is first vetted. This would also help in mainstreaming corporate governance in Government.
- Leadership is the force behind the Asian Tigers. Some people have attributed the success of countries like Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea to mention but three to infrastructure and location. That is not it. Good leadership is the number one reason that has transformed these economies. The culture of hard work. Consequence management. Strategic thinking. And investing in people to gain skills on-demand globally, is their secret.
- When I was still working in the Ministry of Finance, I learned something from Hon. Gerald Sendaula. He used to file ALL board minutes of URA with the Ministry of Finance. This was good governance practice as it promoted transparency. With the board minutes at the Ministry, I would review and understand the board resolutions. When official requests for funding arrive, we would easily corroborate. But you have some Agencies requesting for money for things not even discussed by the Board! So which kind of people do you have as Board Chairmen?
- When I was young, I remember this country had inflation in three digits. Now it is at a single digit. This has been due to discipline – no spending money you do not have. If we are not serious, this achievement risk being eroded.
- Take the case of the Bank of Uganda (BOU). The supreme law of the land recommends that BOU must remain independent. The President must stop at appointing the Governor. That is all. So, the issue is not that the Governor is the Chairman of the BOU board. That is looking at a wrong issue. To me, the problem at the Central bank is due to the structure. How do we constitute the board? Are the board members independent? I don’t see any problem with the Governor being held accountable for the decisions made. The problem is how do you appoint other members on the board he Chairs? If you write to a Uganda Law Society to recommend the best lawyer on the board. You write to accountants to do the same. You write to valuers, etc you will likely get qualified people who are independent.
- People should not serve on boards of companies where they have retired! We need independent people who can speak to the executive without fear or favor.
- Let’s practice corporate governance because it is the right thing to do to transform the economy and our lives.
The keynote was thereafter discussed by a panel composed of eminent professionals. Moderated by yours truly, it was insightful. The below are key away messages by each panelist:
Ms. Doris Akol
A lawyer and an administrator and currently serve as the Commissioner-General at Uganda's tax administration, the Uganda Revenue Authority. She has held this position since November 2014. As the Commissioner General of Uganda Revenue Authority, she is charged with the responsibility of overseeing Tax administration and collection of Tax and Non-tax revenue for the Government of Uganda. In this effort, under her leadership, the tax to GDP ratio has grown from 12.78% to 15.1% and revenue collection has doubled from UGX.8, 031 billion to UGX16,594 billion over the last five years.
Madam Doris believes that “if good corporate governance is the engine that drives organizational success, culture is the fuel that drives the engine. When organizational culture is aligned with good corporate governance, the progress to achieving success on organizational strategic purpose is much faster.”
Ms. Judith Namugenyi
Judith Namugenyi is a Fellow Chartered Certified Accountant, holds an MBA in Oil and Gas, and a Certified Risk Management practitioner with 22 years experience within advisory and assurance services across manufacturing, ICT and financial services sectors.
Judith says “organizations –public or private like gadgets have operating systems: every organization has a cultural operating system- the software that helps it to function, that is what determines whether they get to the next level- be it forward or backward. Integrity, a key tenet of governance, is the glue that sticks the cultural operating system together and it is the ultimate currency!”
Mr. Joseph Baliddawa
Mr. Baliddawa is a Fellow of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (FCCA) and a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). He has worked with PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) in the United Kingdom, Zambia and Uganda for over 34 years where he rose through the ranks to become a Senior Partner in the Africa Region and the Country Senior Partner in Uganda. He has extensive experience in auditing, financial and business consultancy.
To Joseph, "corporate culture is, above all else, the most important factor in driving innovation".
Mr. Emmanuel Mawocha Tineyi
Tineyi Mawocha is the Chief Executive Officer of Opportunity Bank. He has 19 years of banking and microfinance experience, plus hospitality and service. He has a Masters in development finance, MBA as well as HND in Hospitality Management.
Tineyi believes that “it all boils down to “people” appointing the right people to boards and executive positions and training them appropriately. Getting rid of the inept.”
The last speaker was Rtn Emmanuel Katongole, who talked about “shared values – a way to go for corporates.” He moved the audience almost to tears when he explained how mobilizing corporate entities to provide community interventions helped save a woman who had been in ‘labor’ for two and a half years. And when the specialist doctors operated on her to see what exactly was inside, they were surprised with what came out. The image displayed was very disturbing indeed, just like the audience had been warned.
The current institute secretary, Shakila Rahim, gave a vote of thanks.
Copyright Mustapha B Mugisa, 2019. All rights reserved.
Mustapha B. Mugisa is the co-founder at the Institute of Forensics & ICT Security (www.forensicsinstitute.org) and Summit Consulting (www.summitcl.com). He is a Certified Public Accountant and Cyber Security Researcher for the last 15 years. Mustapha provides transformational consulting services to leaders who demand the very best. He is a Board Trainer and Strategy Expert, whose work has earned him the nickname: Mr. Strategy.