The Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC), Dr K.K. Sarpong, has made a strong case for how corporate institutions and businesses can survive the devastating effect of the global pandemic. According to him, there is the need for institutions and businesses to reset their corporate governance agenda in order to turn around from the ravages of the COVID-19.
“If businesses are to recover from the shocks of the pandemic, there will be the need to reset the corporate governance agenda to build business resilience and ultimately sustain economic growth,” he said.
Delivering the keynote at the opening of the 5th CEOs Summit in Accra yesterday on the theme: “Digital Transformation: Resetting Corporate Governance Agenda For A Post-Pandemic Business And Economic Resilience,” Dr Sarpong, who is one of the country’s most experienced CEOs, said: “A corporate governance agenda that promotes post-pandemic business and economic resilience will require a more in-depth look at how seriously our boards and executives consider digitisation.”
“Suppose the board and the management appreciate that technology will lead to revenue growth and improved return on assets, among others, they will reset the agenda from the top and ensure that it is replicated at all levels of the organisation. It may even be necessary for the board and management to receive training,” he told the packed hall of business leaders, CEOs, members of the Diplomatic Corps and politicians from all walks of life.
Building investor confidence
Dr Sarpong said the corporate governance structure of businesses was key to building economic resistance to meet contemporary challenges. “Good corporate governance is needed to ensure the proper running of enterprises to engender investor confidence that attracts required equity and risk capital.”
“Good corporate governance ensures economic growth as micro-enterprises deliver good results. The governance structure of most businesses has been on autopilot, but now, with the COVID-19 pandemic, we cannot do business as usual,” he advised.
Dr Sarpong noted that the pandemic has revealed the importance of business to society and demonstrated the power of technology in striving to meet the needs of all stakeholders.
According to him, it has also become increasingly clear that to run productive and profitable businesses, digital transformation is critical. “Under the current circumstances and beyond, there is no doubt that the corporate governance agenda should embrace digital transformation for businesses to achieve resilience. A vision of employing digitisation for business must be set by boards for implementation by management.”
Throwing the challenge to boards, he said without mincing words that “technologically literate boards and management are a must-have for all businesses in today’s world. A board that recognises and appreciates the essence of technology will be of immense benefit to the administration of businesses. This is so because the board will understand the need to digitise the business and retrain staff to meet the needs of the contemporary technological marketplace.”
Dr Sarpong said corporate governance agenda that promotes post-pandemic business and economic resilience will require a more in-depth look at how seriously our boards and executives consider digitisation.
He added: “Suppose the board and the management appreciate that technology will lead to revenue growth and improved return on assets, among others, they will reset the agenda from the top and ensure that it is replicated at all levels of the organisation. It may even be necessary for the board and management to receive training.”
He said a board committee may also be formed to deal with digital transformation and digital innovation.
“To enhance the work of the committee and that of the board, it may also be beneficial to appoint external experts to such a committee.”
Traps to overcome
In spite of his strong call for digitisation, Dr Sarpong was also oblivious of the inherent threats saying “As we recognise the essential role of technology in business, we should be mindful of and swiftly deal with accompanying threats, such as cybercrime, terrorist activities, and intellectual property theft, among others.
“These are serious issues and threats to technological innovation to which we must be responsive,” he added.
Government digitization drive
The role played by the government to digitise the economy was not lost on him as he indicated that “as we deliberate on leading our businesses into post-pandemic resilience, we cannot ignore the monumental and commendable work done by the Government of Ghana to digitise the economy”.
According to him, the recreation of the Ministry of Communications by adding digitalization “is a pointer to the resolve and commitment of our government to ensure that our dear country is not left behind in the global technology and digital revolution”.