Let Liberians Have A Say In LEC

By: R. Joyclyn Wea

MONROVIA-The Board Chair of the Liberia Electricity Corporation (LEC) wants Liberians to have a say when it comes to the distribution of electricity on grounds that they are the major shareholders.

Monie Captan indicated that there is a breakdown in accountability because most, if not all the law creating public entities requires the President to work along with the boards and the managing directors of that institution.

He spoke at the African Corporate Governance Network (ACGN) Stakeholder Workshop for the Formation of Institute of Directors in Liberia held at a local hotel in Central Monrovia.

Speaking on corporate governance culture in Liberia in the public and private sector, Captan says, public corporations should be held accountable for efficiency at the same time, calling on Liberians to hold these corporations accountable for their performances.

He stresses the need for board members to be effective in the discharge of their duties, noting that most of the appointments are done squarely by the President, and that the board of directors does not have a say in the hiring and firing of these people, which makes it difficult to hold their feet to the fire.

This, he also believes, becomes terrible for people who are hired to run the affairs of their various institutions saying, “I don’t see how the board can effectively manage and provide the oversight that corporate governance needs.”

“In order for the board to take responsibility, it is important for the board to have a saying in the selection of management to be natural, because the board represents the shareholders, and the shareholders for all of the public corporations, is the government.”

Captan noted: “we need to understand that having effective corporate governance, competent and accountable, management is in the interest of any administration because it directly impacts the performance of the corporation, so if you have a public corporation that is not performing, not providing services to the public it impacts the administration poor ability to deliver to the public”. He added, “So I think any administration seeing the bigger picture will realize that it is in the interest of the government to have the system where it has private and good corporate governance.”

Also speaking, Patrick Chisanga indicated that, since Zambia started its corporate governance 22 years ago, they have been on regimes to embrace the various governing administrations and Zambia have had four different political parties and have engaged various governments on the issue of corporate governance.

He named eight key principles of good corporate governance which includes; efficiency, accountability, sustainability, reliability, effectiveness, integrity and among other things which is key to any society.

Making appointments for the IOD in Liberia, Mr. Rockson Kwesi Dogbegah, Chair, ACGN/President of Institute of Directors-Ghana named Madam Candace B. Eastman as Interim Chair, Lilian Best, Vice Chair; Clarine S. Vaughn, Treasure; Lawrence D. Sekaijipo, Secretary; Mai Urey, Committee Member; Wil Bako Freeman, Committee Member and Robertha R. Lincoln as Committee Member.

Mr. Dogbegah said their role is to facilitate the formation of the IOD of Liberia and associate organizational set up as well as related issues, including the following specific terms of reference which is to lead the creative process of the IOD of Liberia; lead the registration of the IOD in Liberia.

It is to also identify opportunities for training and facilitate capacity development sessions in collaboration with the mentoring institution; lead membership recruitment drives; to also lead stakeholder’s engagement and strategic collaborations; sign an agreement with the mentoring institution and consultant; seek funding for the institution; the interim leadership should plan and organize the launch of the institute; they will organize democratic elections not later than two years from the date of appointment and must work closely with the ACGN and other stakeholders to ensure the proper establishment and growth of the institution.

He furthered that the maximum duration for the interim leadership shall be two years at the end of the first year, the leadership shall report to the ACGN on progress towards the ultimate goal, as they resume office immediately after being nominated and appointed.

At the same time, the newly appointed Chair of the interim leadership, Madam Candace Eastman mentioned that the task placed on them is a huge one but feels confident with what was being heard from the speakers, certainly, they are ready to focus on public governance in Liberia and globally advocate and conduct the business of the organization.

Madam Eastman, Chief Executive Officer of Africabio Enterprises, Inc. said there is still a lot of work to do so they have to work together to create the path to actually formulate the organization.

She further added that this is the beginning, and asking all to join in moving this far along with the team cannot be done without togetherness, because public governance requires collective work.

The Arica Bio Executive Roundtable, the Women on Boards Network Liberia (WOBNL) have partnered with the Africa Corporate Governance Network (ACGN), and the Institute of Directors (IOD) Ghana to launch Institute of Directors Liberia.

The purpose of this is to champion corporate governance through training, advocacy, and leveraging of support through international partnerships.

According to the World Bank’s 2020 doing business survey, Liberia ranks 176th in “protecting minority investors,” scoring 0 out of 7 in the extent of corporate transparency, 0 out of 6 in shareholder rights, and 4 out 10 in disclosure index.

The report also stated that the country scores 0 out of 8 in-depth of credit information, contributing to its ranking of 104th in “Getting Credit,” good corporate governance increases creditworthiness, which expands a company’s access to finance.

Liberia’s new Institute of Directors will help equip businesses of all sizes to strengthen their internal structures in a way that positions them for sustainable growth and impact.

Liberia is at the verge of becoming the 20th country that has IOD which promotes good governance and private sector investment.

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