The ongoing State Enterprises Commission training programmes for Board Members of State-Owned Enterprises have been making inroads in the corporate environment and having great impact on skill and knowledge of these members. Being a Board Member comes with enormous responsibilities by way of ensuring the survival and ultimate profitability of these state entities. With this aside, it also imposes a serious responsibility by way of decision-making and the consequences thereof.
The combined-value of SOEs
The combined State Equity in these SOEs currently amounts to 50% of all State Assets. This therefore stands to reason that efficient management of these SOEs to ensure their viability, must be paramount to the Government. On the other hand, if these SOEs are not managed properly, they will tend to affect the overall health of the country’s liquidity. It is in the light of this, that, it is imperative to sharpen the skills of these Board Members.
Over the past two weeks, there have been series of these training programmes for Ghana Cylinder Manufacturing Company [GCMG], Ghana Gas Company [GGC], Precious Mineral Marketing Company [PMMC], Cocoa Marketing Company [CMG] and GIHOC Distilleries.
Dr. Ishmael Yamson of Ishmael Yamson&Associates who have been facilitators of these training programmes, have been giving practical insight into the real essence of being a Board Member,vis-à-vis responsibilities. Dr. Yamson has always wondered why, inspite of the enormity of task inherent in the job, people desperately inquire “why we haven’t been put on any Board since we came to power”. The reason for such agitations is purely on the account of a “reward for a role played during the campaign”.
Corporate governance structure
Dr. Yamson admonished Ghanaians “not to scramble for political appointments” just so they can “enjoy the trappings that come with the office, when they are not prepared to adhere to basics of corporate governance by taking decisions based on conscience”. “There are instances where government appointees become thin-gods, overnight, become impervious to counsel and tend to behave in ways that exudes total disrespect to even their very working-colleagues” Dr. Yamson bemoaned.
In the line of Corporate Governance, “Ministers are to deal with the Board but often times, minsters deal directly with CEOs; a practice totally in conflict with organizational structure in corporate governance”, Dr. Yamson further opined. In Corporate Governance, a board chairman is not entitled to have a permanent office but this has sometimes been overlooked, with some Board Chairmen demanding for office space in their respective Entities; walk directly to the ministers and briefs them on all decisions taken at meetings, when their respective CEOs have not gotten a wind”.
Good business plan
Dr. Yamson bemoaned the mantra of “our Entity is cash-strapped and this is why we are operating below capacity” and reminded the Board Members that “managing a business and making it a success is hinged on good business-plan because this will always attract financiers”. “For example, a company with turn-over of Ghc500m but makes profit of Ghc100m will be less attractive to an investor, than a business entity which makes Ghc300m turn-over but makes a profit of Ghc100m”.
Often times, we have had leaders whose decisions have been motivated by greed, malice, selfishness and unpatriotism. This has often come about because such people do not have their nations at heart and therefore do not really care about their legacy. Such leaders are the ones that can be conveniently termed as lacking conscience and therefore non-authentic leaders.
For example, Hitler was a leader but the “authentic” aspect was missing and that was why he could superintend the extermination of 3m Jews”. In much the same vein, “a leader who has been voted out in an election on December 7, but goes ahead to append signatures to contracts involving billions of dollars on behalf of the State, definitely would not be acting in in good faith since the election verdict is a clear rejection by the people, and therefore a leadership with conscience would refrain from same”.
Public Procurement Act
In his remarks, the Executive Chairman of State Enterprises Commission, Hon. Stephen Asamoah-Boateng gave a deep insight into the need by Board Members to “always adhere to good procurement practices” and reminded them of their “responsibilities and possible penalties associated with every decision they take in their new capacities”.
He reminded them of the fact that the President, His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has reposed confidence in them by appointing them to manage Entities some of which are in serious competition with the private sector and therefore efficiency cannot be taken for granted”.
He also encouraged the Board Members to “appraise themselves with situational report” to provide them a “fair idea of current state of affairs” of their respective Entities because “there have often been situations where the incoming Board has absolutely no idea what has been bequeathed to them”.
Hon. Asamoah-Boateng have been accompanied on all these programmes by his team from State Enterprises Commission comprising Justice Abeeku Newton-Offei[Office of the President], Mr. John Kwesi Mensah, Ag CEO, [PME], Mr. Benjamin Tetteh-Ozor, Snr. Consultant[PME] and Mr. Benjamin Ansu-Adjei, Snr. Consultant[BAS].
Justice Abeeku Newton-Offei
Office of the President