Moez Joudi, President of the Tunisian Association of Governance called on the government to enforce laws and measures for good governance, and to stimulate business creation. He suggests a number of criteria to accelerate its establishment.
Where are we in terms of good governance?
In Tunisia, we are still in an embryonic phase in terms of governance. We talk a lot about it, but it is still not implemented within companies, especially financial ones and Tunisian banks which must set an example for good governance. It’s just a slogan and we just try to exchange points of view.
We are aware of the importance of the challenges and issues of good governance, but so far I have not seen, except for a few examples, a real application of the rules of good governance.
So we are still in a stage of popularization of the concepts, exchange, debate…
What should be done to meet this challenge?
The important thing for now is to enforce laws. The state must respond in terms of governance to impose it and make it mandatory. Besides, I take this opportunity to commend the initiative of the Central Bank which issued Circular 2011-06 compelling Tunisian banks to reform their governance.
And here, the government must do the same by forcing companies to follow suit. A thorough reform in this area must be imposed on all businesses.
Several gaps exist especially in the banking sector. In your speech on the occasion of the meeting held recently by “Conect” on the theme “Financing Business Facing the Requirements of Good Governance,” you said that Tunisian banks do not meet the criteria of good governance?
Banks in Tunisia are still managed in a very clannish way. Two or three people have all the power. There is no distribution of power or control bodies that work in a collegial and reliable manner. The boards of directors are not very independent and are not very competent. Board of directors meets two or three times a year, whereas in developed countries, which meet the criteria of good governance, they are held monthly. Audit committees are not yet chaired by independent directors. So there is a lack of reliability in the control and the level of transparency of financial information and accounting. We must reform the system of governance at this level.
What do you suggest then?
Five principles and good practices to be implemented: separation of powers of control and power of management. Second criterion is the independence of supervisory bodies while the third affects the optimal composition of boards. The fourth criterion also affects the organization of specialized committees and finally the reliable democratic functioning of general meetings of shareholders.
What is the contribution of the association to this process?
We are in a difficult phase in terms of culture and information since we are suffering in Tunisia from a shortage of skills in good governance. We will propose, in consultation with major institutions, training programs to bring out in Tunisia skills that can work within these institutions and can apply these rules and better contribute to the reform of corporate governance and Tunisian banks