Accra, Oct 25, GNA - Mr. Yaw Osafo-Maafo, the Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, on Monday asked the executives of Tender Boards to fully execute section 60 of the Procurement Act, which offers indigenous companies a margin of advantage over their foreign counterparts in the bidding for contracts.
Speaking at the launch of the 2002/3 Ghana Club 100, Mr. Osafo-Maafo said when section 60 was fully implemented it would provide local businesses a window of opportunity to win contracts that would make their companies thrive and increase their capacity to employ more people.
The Ghana Club 100 is an annual compilation of the top 100 companies in the country to give recognition to successful enterprise building. It aims to develop an open information culture within the corporate sector as well as uniform criteria for measuring corporate performance.
It takes into account a company's size, profitability, growth and net assets. Scancom Ltd, operators of spacefon cellular phone network topped the list for both 2002 and 2003.
The Minister said the Government would continue to adopt proactive policies to remove obstacles that impede the smooth operation of the private sector in order to engender the necessary economic growth and create employment.
These policies include good governance, the provision of tax incentives, infrastructural development and the maintenance of a stable macro-economic environment to enable business operators predict more easily the outcome of their investments.
Mr Osafo-Maafo appealed to private sector operators to be alive to their tax obligation to the state and to embrace the tenets of good corporate governance, which he said was essential for survival in the competitive global market.
He said good governance should not be only interpreted in the area of political administration but it should apply to corporate governance as well.
He was, therefore, unhappy with companies, which get generous tax exemptions with the promise to export at least 70 per cent of their goods and honouring their social responsibilities but end up virtually selling all their products on the local market.
"Sometimes, it takes only a borehole to make a difference in the lives of the people who gave you land to operate," he said, adding that companies would be monitored to ensure that they lived up to their responsibilities.
To encourage good corporate citizens, the Minister said a Large Tax Payers Unit had been created to cater for the needs of the 362 companies that contribute more than 70 per cent of the country's tax revenue. Mr Osafo-Maafo was full of praise for the 12 Rural Banks, which made it to the list of the 100 best companies in the country. Atwima Kwanwoma Rural Bank Limited ranked 32nd on the list.
Dr Osei Boeh-Ocansey, Executive Director of the Private Enterprise Foundation, said good corporate governance allows firms to build an effective, transparent, management and financial system. Besides, it gives the firm easy access to financing, which is crucial to the growth of the firm.
Mr Paul Victor Obeng, Board Chairman Ghana Investment Promotion Centre, said the review in the criteria for the awards was to prevent the situation where some companies went down just after winning the award.
He asked the award winners to mentor small companies and cede part of their production contracts to them as a way of helping them. This, Mr Obeng, said would contribute to sustaining the country's economic growth, boost the Gross Domestic Product and help reduce poverty. 25 Oct.04