Yesterday's  Business Bruch with Ghana Integrity Initiative

12-06-2020

Yesterday's  Business Bruch with Ghana Integrity Initiative

Yesterday on the initiative of the Ghana Integrity Initiative a virtual Business Brunch was organized with GNBCC Members. The official theme was: “The Impact of COVID -19 Pandemic on the Private Sector and Transparency and Accountability Issues Post the Restrictions in Ghana.” The meeting was also organised to facilitate discussions on the impacts of COVID-19 pandemic on businesses vis-a-vis the challenges of promoting transparency and accountability in doing business in Ghana. The key presenters were Dutch Ambassador Ron Strikker, Mrs. Linda Ofori-Kwafo, Executive Director of the GII, Mr. Tjalling Y. Wiarda, General Manager of GNBCC, Professor Bawole, Dean, University of Ghana Business School (UGBS) and Mr Seth Twum Akwaboah, representing the AGI .

We had a good attendance of 52 participants; after the official opening by Mrs Linda Ofori-Kwafo of the GII our Ambassador spoke about the collaboration with the Ghana Integrity Initiative on the “Business Integrity Project”. The project is intended to open space for the policy tripod (Business Policy Makers, Policy Implementers, and Business People) to openly discuss business integrity challenges and with the aim of addressing the same. The project is part of the outreach to the general Responsible Business Conduct Agenda of the Dutch government.

He told the virtual audience that the Embassy knows that the impact of COVID-19 on economies all over the world is projected to be devastating. He stated that from now until 2022 and beyond, the embassy will continue to support Ghana’s efforts to become less dependent on aid by prioritizing Ghana’s private sector with a strong focus on agriculture, circular economy, and young entrepreneurs. The Embassy will continue to promote Dutch investments in Ghana by promoting an improved business and investment climate, sustainable development, and inclusive growth.  The Netherlands will continue to collaborate with Ghana on themes such as international criminal justice, human rights, and regional stability to boost Ghana’s investment climate. The Embassy believes that these efforts will create the needed environment for Ghana to move beyond aid. Against this background, long term agenda on ease of doing business and other measures to promote FDI by government, remain important – pacta servanda sunt – predictability – clarity of rules and regulations applicable for everybody is extremely relevant.

After the Ambassador GNBCC’s General Manager spoke about the relation Business - Covid-19 and Corruption; He mentioned that SME’s will receive a 600 million stimulus package. This is handled by the National Board for Small Scale Industries – NBSSI (www.nbssi.gov.gh) under the Corona Virus Alleviation Programme. GNBCC had asked the Board by mail if joint ventures with Dutch shareholding were eligible for funding. This was not clear from the website. During the webinar, the answer came directly from the NBSSI informing GNBCC that only joint ventures with a 50% + Ghanaian ownership are eligible for funding. Mr. Wiarda spoke about the 50 to 100% discount on electricity and water bills period April to June for consumers and for commercial business as offered by the government. There was now no clarity if the discount concerning water was also eligible for business (referring to the conflict between Ghana Water and Hotels) and finally he mentioned that GNBCC Members complained about the non-flexible attitude experienced in confrontations and communications with the GRA; if Covid-19 never happened and had zero impact on business;  no delays of GRA payment were accepted etc. He concluded that corruption creeps in where there is uncertainty about who can qualify for support or who is eligible for government reliefs and or discounts; when there is a lot of vagueness in official regulations it creates opportunities for fraud and corruption.

The next presenter was Prof Justice Bawole; he had prepared a PowerPoint which is attached to this article ; after Prof Bawole Mr Twum Akwaboah spoke mentioning that the amounts for SME’s through the NBSSI are small with a maximum of 150000 Ghana Cedis and hence he did not expect any interest for the GNBCC Members due to their size. The virtual event was closed by MC Michael Henchard Okai and Mrs Linda who thanked all in attendance

Click here for the full presentation

Written by: Tjalling Wiarda

GNBCC | News