Azerbaijan, Baku, Feb. 7 / Trend N.Ismayilova /
Azerbaijan's corporate governance standards, which have been presented today, would create the framework for the implementation of international standards of corporate governance in the country, taking into account national circumstances, Azerbaijani Economic Development Minister Samir Valiyev said at the presentation ceremony on Monday.
"These standards have passed a public discussion by government agencies and private companies whose recommendations and proposals have been taken into account," Valiyev said.
Presentations will be held for local companies in the regions to provide the value and importance of these standards, State Securities Committee deputy chairman Ilgar Muradov said. He added that one of the State Securities Committee's responsibilities is to protect the rights of shareholders, under which the introduction of corporate governance standards plays an important role for the State Committee.
"We are interested in expanding the application of these standards and we hope that they will soon become required reading for all shareholders," Muradov said.
Swiss Ambassador to Azerbaijan Sabine Ullmann said Switzerland has invested about 70 million euros in the development of the non-oil sector of Azerbaijan for 10 years, and also participated actively in project implementation of corporate governance.
"These standards include the best international practice, and we hope that they will contribute to private sector development in the country," Ullmann said.
Implementation of these standards is voluntary. They are prepared in accordance with legislation and the business environment of the country in an attempt to improve the experience of managing companies.
The Azerbaijani Economic Development Ministry approved these standards in January 2011. The standards were prepared by a working group of the Economic Development Ministry support from the International Finance Corporation (IFC), which included representatives of the SCS, Azerbaijan Investment Company, the Central Bank of Azerbaijan (CBA) and the Justice Ministry.
The standards will be based on the following principles: equal treatment of all shareholders, accountability of the Board of Directors, and management, information disclosure and transparency - that is, full and timely provision of financial and other reporting, the responsibility for compliance with the interests of minority shareholders and other interest groups, as well as strict adherence to the spirit and letter of the law.
The Azerbaijan Investment Company (AIC) - with support from IFC and USAID - have also developed a model code of corporate governance provided for local companies, in which AIC will invest.
The introduction of improved corporate governance practices in the local companies will enhance interest by foreign investors, as well as the attractiveness of the non-oil sector.
The IFC Corporate Governance Project (ACGP) has been operating since 2005.
The official opening of the ACGP project, initiated by IFC and funded by Seco, was held on Jan. 26, 2005. Implementing the first phase of the project was designed for three years with a budget of $2.1 million.
Seco took funding for the second phase of the project completely on itself and allocated $4 million for its realization.
The project assists ub the introduction of corporate governance standards in accordance with the rules of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).