Fri | Nov 27, 2020

Zacca calls for overhaul of public bodies governance structure

Published:Tuesday | July 3, 2018 | 1:11 PMRomario Scott
Christopher Zacca - Kenyon Hemans photo

Christopher Zacca, President and Chief Executive Officer of Sagicor Group Jamaica, has charged that the government needs to move to undertake an overhaul of the governance of public bodies.

Zacca contends that the issues that have arisen at the state-owned oil refinery Petrojam brings into sharp focus the importance of proper corporate governance.

It has been revealed that the board did not meet for nine months and that the company spent over $14 billion or 74 per cent of its domestic expenditure over a two-year period to last October via direct and emergency sourcing, rather than competitive bidding contracts.

There have also been concerns about the hiring practises at the agency as well as questionable donations.

Zacca made the comments while delivering remarks morning at the press briefing of the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ) Corporate Governance Awards for public bodies.

"The current issue surrounding the governance of Petrojam and its oversight by the Ministry of Energy brings into sharp focus the critical need for the complete overhaul of how public bodies are governed in this country," he charged.

Sagicor is a major sponsor of the awards, which is to be held on December 12, 2018.

Applications, which cover the period January 1, 2017, to March 31, 2018, is now opened and will close October 1. 

The event, which is in its second staging, seeks to promote good corporate governance practises for public bodies by encouraging improvements in corporate governance disclosure. 

Entries will be accepted from public bodies which are governed by the Public Bodies Management and Accountability Act, primary statutory bodies, authorities, commissions, and government-owned companies.

This year, there will be four categories of awards: Board Composition, Function and Structure;  Corporate Governance Policies; Compliance and Disclosure; Risk Management and Control. 

Speaking at a press briefing, Dennis Cohen, vice-president of the PSOJ, said the implementation of corporate governance continues to play a major role in the relationship between the private and public sectors. 

"Over the past two decades, the PSOJ has placed corporate governance high on our agenda as we recognise the direct correlation to business and our country's success. 

"History has shown that those private sector entities which invest the time to establish proper governance are usually more successful," Cohen said. 

He said the PSOJ has expanded its mandate to educate public bodies on the positive impact of implementing proper corporate governance and more specifically, how it can help to improve efficiency. 

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