To promote corporate governance practice in the business community, the Ghana National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GNCCI) has signed a cooperation agreement with the International Finance Corporation (IFC).
The agreement will encourage Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) to improve performances, increase access to finance and foster sustained growth.
Nana Appiagyei Dankawoso I, the President of GNCCI who signed the agreement on behalf of the Chamber, said the agreement came at a time when the Bank of Ghana had completed a major clean-up of the banking sector with poor governance practices being one of the major causes of the failures of the financial institutions.
The corporate governance programme would target market-level intermediaries from the private sector to undertake needs assessment of firms, provide firms with advisory services, and recommend firm-level policies and practices for improvement or elimination.
It would also track the performance of firms following corporate governance improvements to include; issues such as net employment increase, and number of women accessing board positions.
Nana Dankawoso explained that corporate governance practices when improved, would yield success, generate profit and stabilise the economy.
SMEs, he disclosed, made up over 80 per cent of businesses in the country and contributed immensely to the revenue generation.
"So I believe when 80 per cent are supporting the government in building taxes, a lot of the youth will get employment when their capacities are built. The government employs only six per cent of people, so with capacity building programmes for SMEs, unemployment will be a thing of the past," he said.
He disclosed that the Chamber was establishing a credit union facility to support members and non-members to reiterate the habit and culture of savings.
Mr Moez Miaoui, the Team Lead, West Africa Corporate Governance Programme, IFC, explained that corporate governance had become critical to the growth, performance and sustainability of companies and organisations.
Corporate governance, on his part, was not just a concept for big companies, multinationals or banks, but a set of principles and practices that should be at the core of every organisation or company no matter the size, sector or location.
"Even SMEs, entities that form the backbone of the economy of Ghana, need better governance practices, because it is good for business, shareholders," he said.
To provide a set of tools relevant for SMEs in their growth cycle or stage, he said, IFC launched an SME training toolkit for industry players.
Mr Miaoui said the objective of IFC was not to offer constant financial support to institutions and companies, but to make them independent and efficient by building their capacity and training trainers.
For companies to keep getting financial support from investors, banks and other institutions to promote growth and development, he noted that, SMEs had a responsibility to make good use of an afore-received support.