Daasebra Otuo Siribour II, the Chairman of the Council of the Council of State, has called for redefining redline corporate governance, with practice that go beyond mere adherence to new rules that demonstrate ethics, integrity, honesty, and transparency.
He said corporate governance was more than just a set of guidelines: rather it was a framework which underpinned the core values for running businesses and corporate entities, including a commitment to transparent communications with stakeholders, in our case, with the government being a major stakeholder.
He therefore advised Corporate Bodies, Directors, Council members and Management of public service institutions, to look beyond simple compliance with the letter of the new laws and regulations in a check-the-box.
He urged all Directors, Council members and Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) of corporate and public service institutions to ensure that they remained the true stewards of corporate accountability, and their actions demonstrated their dedication to this stewardship.
Nana Siribour II made the call at the maiden orientation workshop organized by the Public Service Commission (PSC) in Accra on Wednesday, for Members of the newly elected Governing Boards and Councils of the various government institutions.
The programme, which aimed to impact positively on the management of public service institutions for improved service delivery, was on the theme: “Good Governance Practices Amidst the COVID-19 Pandemic: The Role of Governing Boards and Councils”.
Nana Siribour II, who chaired the function, said good corporate governance was crucial in improving long-term success and performances of institutions, and called for a change in the mindset of leadership to ensure an organisation-wide culture that fostered ethical behaviour and decision-making.
He urged them to do more to install and maintain an ethic organization-wide commitment to do the right thing, so much so that it becomes entwined in what could be perceived as the essential “DNA” of the organization.
He also asked that Directors of Boards and Councils to be prepared to devote sufficient time to their duties, as it had been seen in too many cases where inactive boards had enabled management to plunder the corporation.
A more engaged board of directors and council members could help to identify pressure points, prevent small problems from spreading, and send a powerful message to an organisation’s stakeholders that the Board was focused on its responsibilities, he said.
He said two points that were sometimes overlooked in the discussions of corporate governance, were that the role of the board to provide strategic guidance and effective oversight, which must not be compromised or misinterpreted.
Nana Siribour II stressed that allowing boards and councils to devolve into operating committees, and to dilute their effectiveness and that of operating management, would not benefit stakeholders or employees, and could spell disaster for the institution.
Secondly, there were no one-size-fits-all solutions to the corporate governance challenge, as it was necessary for these bodies to make every effort to maintain governance structures and processes that were fit for all purpose and supported good decision-making by the board, he added.
He said the key was for companies and their boards to understand the need for greater transparency and accountability, and promote a corporate culture that was based on ethical values and behaviours, adding that that “weak governance in the Public Service organisations may lead to inefficiencies, low productivity, corruption and consequently, retard economic growth and the development of Ghana.
Dr Mokowa Blay Adu-Gyamfi, the Presidential Advisor on HIV, representing the Chief of Staff for the Keynote address, said it was incumbent upon all governing boards and councils to develop appropriate policies, rules and regulations, Codes of Conducts, monitoring and evaluation mechanisms and strategies for promoting effective good governance practices to ensure effective delivery of their legal mandate.
She said moving Ghana forward could only be achieved if all began to do things differently and called for a paradigm shift in the mentality, attitudes and behaviours, if Ghana was to boost productivity and steadily increase improvement in service delivery.
She stated that although the public expected governing boards and councils by their appointment to these offices of trust, to performed their functions with integrity in a fair and unbiased manner, there had been some identified areas of concern involving potential conflicts between their personal interests and duty to their Organisations.
Dr Adu-Gyamfi said there had also been conflicts between Boards, Councils and Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) in ensuring accountability to stakeholders particularly in this era of the COVID-19 Pandemic.
She urged Public Service Boards and Councils to provide the right vision and leadership for the furtherance of government businesses, and reminded the Chairpersons, Members and CEOs of the need to uphold the core ethics that governed their work, and to exhibit integrity in the discharge of their work, avoid double standards, be bold and resist fraudulent practices.
She asked all public sector leadership to be innovative in mobilising the needed resources for their organisations to complement the efforts of government and leveraging on the current technological opportunities presented by the pandemic and digitally transform of the processes to enhance service delivery in the public service, while identifying ways to address the technological skills gap to enable all public servants to fully embrace the digitalisation agenda.
Dr Janaet Ampadu Fofie, the Chairman of the Public Service Commission, said the two-day programme was the first in the series to be organized for newly appointed Governing Boards, Councils and Chief Executives of the Ghana Public Services, to provide them with information on their roles and mandate under Article 190 of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana.