Mr Speaker, I thank you for your kindness.
Mr Speaker, one of the central goals of corporate governance in this country is, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). Both small, medium and large scale business entities, be it private or public, have special departments often referred to as charity branch, dedicated to their CSR projects/programmes.
Increasingly, we have read, listened and watched news items or attended CSR programmes by organisations, which expounds from health, sport, entrepre- neurship, construction, education, spon- sorship, soft loans, donations and what is viewed as a way of giving back to society.
Indeed, many communities are blessed with boreholes, school buildings, agricul- tural supplies, and many more, due to the humanitarian efforts of these corporate organisations to ensure that the Ghanaian also benefits from their operations.
Most Hon Members in the House, if not all, will attest to the fact that there are
one or two projects in their Constituencies provided by corporate entities through CSR initiative.
Mr Speaker, to epitomise CRS activities in the country, it is obvious that each company has a peculiar area of interest, which it considers paramount to invest funds to support socio-economic growth.
Just to cite few examples from the telecommunications sector, where we have MTN, Vodafone, Tigo-Airtel and Glo, competing and making a show off with their CRS programmes to the extent of even winning awards.
MTN Ghana Foundation with focus on three thematic areas -- Health, Education and Economic Empowerment was adjudged CSR Company of the year, 2018 and it is believed to have injected over US$13 million into its philanthropic projects.
The Vodafone Ghana Foundation on the other hand has also made remarkable strides in the healthcare sector with the introduction of ground-breaking products like Healthline 255, a television health show, Healthfest, mentorship and education support, have brought transformations to many people. Indeed, it has received several awards for this initiative.
Tigo Ghana, in an attempt to provide solution in social entrepreneurship and education, somewhere in 2011, launched its flagship programme ‘Tigo Change', that was expected to provide US$20,000 on annual basis for three years to support individuals with creative ideas to address challenges facing children's wellbeing.
Airtel Ghana, though it has joined forces with the latter, received awards for its CSR strategy to improve education, community empowerments and contributing to innovation solutions.
Mr Speaker, as stated earlier, all industry players, banks, mining, hospitality, manufacturing et cetera of the economy are contributing their quota towards development as part of their operational ethics. However, most of these projects executed through CSR are either abandoned by the beneficiaries or had become faulty.
Agreeably, while some companies are impacting society with their CRS initiatives, others do it for the glamour or namesake; this best describes “Me too I will do some” syndrome that have led some projects executed through CSR to be lying wasted or donations of substandard products to communities. Many of the entities after inauguration ceremonies do not pay visits to these communities nor put in place maintenance strategies.
This is not to say, I am against these development partners or I am finding fault where there is none, or perhaps I am stirring a hornet nest, but truth must be told, CSR in Ghana are in fragments, and need to be harmonised by a policy direction under a ministry or a body.
This is done in international, develop- ment to prevent charity and philanthropy organisations from siting similar projects in the same community.
Have I sown whirlwind in the tree that bares fragrance to many? Certainly not! As CSR is more of voluntarily, per Amposah-Tawiah and Dartey's definition that it is:
“The strategic decision of an organisation to voluntary act upon the social factors that have the potential of militating against the fulfilment of corporate goals.”
Sammi Caramela was of the view that CSR was paramount to building
organisation's image because customers consider more than quality goods and services when choosing a brand.
Many are prioritising CSR and holding corporations accountable for effecting social change with their business beliefs, practice and profits. In fact, some even turn their backs on their favourite companies if they believe they are not taking a stand for societal and environmental issues.”
Mr Speaker, the benefit of CSR is reciprocal, as it is a business strategy for positioning. Ronald Chibuike Iwu- Egwuonwu in his article “Does Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Impact on Firm Performance? A Literature Evidence” established from his findings that:
“A major implication of this finding is that for CSR to enhance firm performance, its content should not simply depict what the firms favour but what the consumers favour since it is their purchasing decisions that make the difference in the patronage build up to enhance firm's financial performance. In a 2008 global study of consumer thinking by Good Purpose titled “Putting More Meaning into Marketing”, it is shown that almost seven out of 10 (68%) of consumers say that they would remain loyal to a brand during an economic downturn if it supports a good cause.”
Mr Speaker, recent reports indicate that Tullow Oil Ghana has invested as much as US$30 million to impact some 240, 000 lives in the Western Region, with the provision of boreholes, health support and enterprise development.