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19.07.2005 General News

We're HIPC today because of our past behaviour


Accra, July 19, GNA - Dr Ishmael Yamson, a former Chairman of Unilever Ghana, has blamed Ghana's current status as poor nation on pervasive behaviour of past governments.

Dr Yamson said: "Every government we have had since independence has been accused of pervasive corruption, incompetence and reckless abuse of political power, mediocrity, cronyism, tribalism and failure to change the structure of the economy.

"So today if we are HIPC, then we should know that these behaviours in the past and they will not deliver in the future."

Delivering the 13th anniversary lecture of the Institute of Public Relations in Accra on Wednesday, Dr Yamson wondered the kind of behaviours Ghana had to adopt to improve and called on Public Relations practitioners to muster courage to call attention to actions that were inconsistent with prescribed values and behaviours.

The lecture, on the theme "Good Governance and Civil Society, the Case of Public Relations" was part of the annual week celebrations of the IPR, Ghana.

Dr Yamson's lecture focused on the six main principles of corporate governance: credibility, integrity, commitment, accountability, transparency and inclusiveness.

He said effective public sector governance required disciplined and visionary leadership, unambiguous communication of the vision and clear identification of priorities.

Dr Yamson, who is also the Chairman of University of Ghana Council, said it was incumbent upon the leadership that good governance delivered better standard of living and that accountability should be fundamental to the nation's democratic system

''This requires a clear understanding and appreciation of the role and the responsibility of the relevant participants in the governance framework as key components of sound accountability.''

Dr Yamson said the quality of political leadership was critical for good governance in the public sector and that the government's own institutions must operate efficiently and honestly and be open to public scrutiny.

At same time, it is the responsibility of the political system to put in place a legal and institutional framework, including effective mechanism of compliance, which would ensure that the private sector in particular behaved in a socially responsible manner.

"No amount of sermonisation on codes of business conduct and pious statements about commitment will deliver good governance, otherwise companies such as Enron, Wellcome and Arthur Anderson could not have got into difficulty.

" ...What is critical is the commitment to the code and the discipline with which it is applied," Dr Yamson said.

He reminded Public Relations practitioners to bridge the gap between a company and its stakeholders, but pointed out that Public Relations was one area which is rather misrepresented, misdirected under-utilised and poorly resourced.

Dr Yamson reminded PR practitioners to ensure that their organisations were up to their social responsibilities and produced standardised goods, did not exploit vulnerable sector of the society, did not encourage child labour and promote diversity at work.

Dr Yamson stressed awareness creation in organisations of acceptable behaviour to avoid contamination of the organisation, adding that the Public Relations role should the brightest in any organisation because it was a complex function. Mr Kojo Yankah, President of the IPR Ghana, who chaired the lecture, called for application of Public Relations to the successful implementation of the New Partnership For Africa's Development.