Given the important role of state ownership in MENA countries, there is a need for a clear policy for enterprise reform relying on improved corporate governance of state-owned enterprises. Such policy is important for enterprises to be privatised as well as for those remaining under total or partial state ownership. By improving the process of decision making and control by the state, good governance can improve SOEs performance and competitiveness, and level the playing field between state-owned and private enterprises. In many instances, better performing SOEs can have positive fiscal implications, insofar as government budgets are all too often called to the rescue of large SOEs.
Good governance provides better transparency in corporate structures and operation and reduces the opportunities for political interference in the interactions amongst government, management and stakeholders. Thus, good governance of SOEs is conducive to better public sector governance in general, and to reducing corruption.
As one of the Task Forces endorsed by the Dubai Declaration issued in November 2006, the Task Force on Corporate Governance of State Owned Enterprises constituted developed a questionnaire on the basis of the OECD approved Guidelines on Corporate Governance of State-owned Enterprises which was circulated to 12 MENA jurisdictions (Ministries and regulatory agencies from Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Morocco, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, UAE, Yemen) to study the Corporate Governance Frameworks of MENA SOEs. The Task Force discussed its findings in meetings and electronic consultations.