A Committee on Corporate Governance was established in September 2001 with the mandate to promote principles of good corporate governance (accountability, transparency, responsibility, fair treatment, meritocracy, management disciplines and fight against corruption) amongst public and private sector organisations.
“A Report on the Observance of Standards and Codes” (ROSC) for Corporate Governance was published by the World Bank in October 2002. One of the recommendations of the report was that a Code of Corporate Governance for Mauritius should be developed.
Professor Mervyn King, SC, author of the King Reports on Corporate Governance for South Africa, was enlisted to assist the Committee in developing a Code of Corporate Governance. Wide-ranging national consultations were held with stakeholders at different points in time. The Code was first published in October 2003 and was held in high regard by both the national and international business community.
The Financial Reporting Act 2004 (Act No 45 of 2004) was gazetted in December 2004 and came into operation on 20 January 2005. The main objective of the Act was to establish strong and effective apex bodies for overseeing corporate financial reporting, accounting and auditing standards and practices, and corporate governance in Mauritius. Section 63 of the Act established the “National Committee on Corporate Governance” (NCCG) as the national coordinating body responsible for all matters pertaining to corporate governance. The NCCG took over all the activities of the “Committee on Corporate Governance” as from January 2005 under the chairmanship of Mr. Tim Taylor.
An NCCG survey in 2014 and focus group meetings in 2015 identified that the Mauritian business community believed that the 2003 Code needed to be revised. Reasons for revisions to the Code included the need to align the Code with new laws and guidelines (e.g., the Bank of Mauritius Guidelines); to recognise, learn and apply governance lessons from the BAI and Bramer Bank collapses in 2015 and the global financial crisis that began in 2008; and to identify and apply international best practices. Dr. Chris Pierce, CEO of Global Governance Services Ltd., was appointed to assist the NCCG in preparing the Code and wide-ranging national consultations were held with stakeholders in 2015 and 2016. The Code of Corporate Governance for Mauritius (2016) was officially launched on 13 February 2017 at the BMPL Conference Hall, Ebene. The Code of Corporate Governance (2016) applies to the following:
- Public Interest Entities
As defined by the Financial Reporting Act 2004.
- Public sector organisations
Listed as public interest entities in Schedule 1 of the Financial Reporting Act 2004.
- Other companies
Other companies are encouraged to give due consideration to the application of the Code insofar as the principles are applicable.
The Code became applicable from the reporting year (financial period) ending 30th June 2018 (i.e., companies were expected to apply the principles of the Code from July 2017 onward). Earlier compliance, however, was encouraged.
Section 20 of The Finance (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2020, gazetted on 07 August 2020, established the NCCG as a ‘body corporate’.