UAE rewrites constitution 'to tight corporate governance'

5 December 2008

The United Arab Emirates has included measures intended to tighten up standards of corporate governance among a raft of constitutional amendments to mark the 37th anniversary of the federation's formation, according to reports.

Under the changes, ministers will be prohibited from entering into business deals linked to the government, the Financial Times stated.

However, a separate amendment means they will be allowed to sit on the board of corporations while in office - a practice that is already common throughout the UAE and the wider Gulf region, the publication added.

The executive director of corporate governance institute Hawkamah, Nasser Saidi said: "The emergence of a reform movement in the UAE is most welcome."

He added that other Middle East states would likely follow the UAE's lead, as the region is becoming increasingly aware of the importance of good corporate governance.

Earlier this year, a survey from Hawkamah and the International Finance Corporation found that Middle East firms are placing more emphasis on adopting international standards of corporate governance.

The poll, reported by Al Bawaba, found that 76 per cent of banks and 67 per cent of listed companies regard them as either important or very important to their business.

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