The Chief Executive Network Ghana on Monday, May 22, 2023 held the 7th Ghana CEO Summit and Expo in Accra.
The one-day Summit was under the theme “Economic Sovereignty, Sustainable Corporate Governance and Digital Industrial Transformation: New Paths for Growth and Prosperity. A Private-Public Sector CEO Dialogue & Learning.”
Opening the summit, the Former President, John Mahama said the future of the country depended on the conversations and plans of the captains of business and industries, hence his commitment to be part of the Summit.
He decried the current state of the country, describing it as “dire” considering the complaints he receives from business owners and CEOs about the lack of credits, high taxes, high inflation and high handed regulatory environment and the harassment of the Ghana Revenue Authority.
President Mahama said the challenges faced by the country required a multi-faceted and comprehensive approached in tackling effectively, calling for collaboration among the civil society, private sector, researchers, government working together to maintain stability.
He said, the commitment of political leadership was to create a conducive predictable environment and a level playing field for businesses to thrive, however, he said that had been a daunting task for the current government, making it difficult for businesses to run profitable businesses and create employment opportunities.
The former President, charged the government to fulfill its part of the bargain.
The annual Ghana CEO Summit, founded in 2016, with over 500 annual participating topmost CEOs, Heads of State, entrepreneurs, business leaders, board members, investor director generals, governors, ambassadors, executive chairs, advisors, managing directors, country directors, ministers, consultants, decision makers and policymakers from west Africa and around the world.
The Chair of the Advisory Board of the Ghana CEO Summit, Prof Ernest Kofi Abotsi, in an address to the CEO participants and guests, emphasised the need to converge as distinguished stakeholders in the transformation agenda of Ghana towards bridging the gap between private-public sectors.
He called on participants to embrace the new paths of the digital industrial transformation.
The Chief Executive Officer of the CEO Network Ghana, organisers of the Summit, Mr. Ernest De-Graft Egyir, said the theme for the 7th edition was in tandem with last year’s when the CEOs deliberated on ‘Digital Leadership for the Digital economy: A private-public sector CEO dialogue and Learning.’
The conversation, he said, was premised on the need to build the future of corporate Ghana on the foundations of digital transformation. Among other things, “we made a call for the promulgation of a Digital Economy Act and the establishment of a Ministry of Digital Economy to consolidate and coordinate government’s digital policies for the country.”
Creating a conducive environment for the conduct of business in Ghana, he said, will continue to remain a priority in deliberations during the Ghana CEO Summit.
The CEO Network Ghana boss, reiterated the call for the passage of legislation to promote the ease of doing business in the country saying “the passage of an Ease of Doing Business and Anti-Red Tape Act is the way to eliminate rigid conformity to procedures and requirements in government service which only creates redundancy and bureaucracy.”
Such legislation, Mr. De-Graft Egyir added, will require government agencies to promote transparency in their services to the public by improving efficiency and reducing bureaucratic practices.
He charged business leaders to propose bigger outlooks with regards to the best standards on economic management for economic development, asking business leaders to help deliver on a strategy for economic sovereignty, with the private sector becoming more involved in defining national strategies.
The future pathway
Prof. Ayaz A. Shafi, development consultant and Principal, Precept Human Capital and Advisory, speaking on “The Future is Now! Leading for Tomorrow,” charged the CEOs to adapt to the changing trends of industrial growth.
Using the leadership theory, VUCA, Prof. Shafi said the “Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity” of today’s business environment required quick thinking and innovation in order to be successful.
He recommended the need for a fundamental evolution shift, fluid organisational leaders and a reimagined leadership within the corporate environment.
Deloitte Ghana on pathways to growth
The Country Managing Partner of Deloitte Ghana, Mr. Daniel Kwadwo Owusu, in a key note speech underscored the importance of the theme for the Summit, considering the economic times of the country.
Mr. Owusu said Deloitte Ghana was much interested in what Ghana does with the IMF programme that is in place. Deloitte, he said, were proposing six focus areas that can impact positively on Ghana’s national development in the light of the IMF programme, viz sustainable sovereign debt financing, effective monitoring of Strategic Policies for Economic Sovereignty, tax administration measures, the Role of the Ghanaian Diaspora in Achieving Economic Sovereignty, Good Corporate Governance, and Leveraging Information Technology as a tool to extensively formalize the economy.
The Deloitte Country Manager, advised the government to use the mid-year budget to review some of the revenue measures introduced in the 2023 budget including some of new taxes that have the potential to adversely affect the productive sectors of the economy.
He also tasked the Government to review expenditure on certain programmes, particularly recurrent expenditure and re-allocate resources to priority sectors particularly the industrial and agriculture sector in order to drive growth and create employment.
These measures, he said, were important as the country could use the IMF programme as a platform to develop a long-term growth agenda rather than a short –term. This, he said, will help “to wean our economy from Significant donor dependency in the medium to long term and enable us to realise the ‘Ghana Beyond Aid’ agenda.”
Mr. Owusu further charged the government to enhance the Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) Units of all Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) and provide the needed resources to ensure that all programmes are tracked to agreed targets or benchmarks.
He added that a Comprehensive Value for Money review of all major government projects before contracts are awarded. This, he noted, will ensure the country gets appropriate returns on these projects.
IFC Ghana Partnership
The Senior Country Manager of the International Finance Corporation (IFC) Mr. Kyle Kelhofer, in a key note address, said the corporation, being one of the largest global development institutions, was focused on the private sector in emerging markets.
“With our sister institutions the World Bank, MIGA and ICSID, together we constitute the World Bank Group and work in more than 100 countries, using our financing — over $30B per year in emerging markets globally – as well as technical assistance to help create markets and better business opportunities in developing countries globally,” he reiterated.
Mr. Kelhofer extoled Ghana as a major partner in development of agribusiness, financial institutions, infrastructure, manufacturing, natural resources and tourism, with about $4 billion brought to Ghana in the past decade.
The country, he observed, despite the economic problems, was are still seeing investors expand, “bringing capital and expertise to Ghana and enabling more and better jobs and paychecks for Ghanaians,” with the IFC supporting four manufacturing and export investments in the last 12 months.
The IFC Country Manager, touching on the opportunities that avail to Ghana in the IMF deal, was hopeful that the IMF deal serves an opportunity for a Ghana with increased stability, resilience, competitiveness, and economic independence, as well as reduced business risk.
He said, “some may see the fact of Ghana being under and IMF for the next three years as a challenge to economic sovereignty. But this can also be seen as IMF program contributes to Ghana’s economic resilience.”
He charged the Government and business leaders to drive the economy, with guardrails which will help ensure the economy stays on the road to recovery and increased prosperity.