The Member of Parliament for Dormaa East, Paul Apraku Twum Barimah is advising corporate institutions in Ghana to align their corporate social responsibility plans and projects to the developmental agenda of government to help harmonize, streamline and Fastrack project development in Ghana to the benefit of the good people of Ghana.
According to Honourable Twum Barimah, the era of government embarking on one project agenda whiles corporate Ghana undertakes different development agenda culminates in waste of funds and resources and sometimes end in developing projects at places that such projects are not needed.
“What is happening now is that government seems to be doing something and corporate institutions will also be doing something else in term of provision of developmental projects. The harmonization is needed to cushion development because the expenditure of companies on corporate social responsibility is not free. They deduct it from their annual earnings when presenting their financial statement to government and thus deduct it from taxes to government. So, there is a need to put it to good use to the benefit of the people”, he stated.
He noted that Organizations should be partners with government in nation building. The CSR activities of organizations must toe the line of some of the development needs of government and must add up to the socioeconomic progress in health, education, sports, and environmental issues.
If such projects are aligned and developed coherently, they could relieve government of some burdens of having to fix everything everywhere in the country with the proceeds from the meagre resources. It may lead to some of the projects that directly impacts the lives of the people and promote their livelihood to be fixed with the support of corporate Ghana through their corporate social responsibility funds.
When you look at some of the changes and burdens posed by the emergence of covid 19 such collaborations are needed to enhance promote and Fastrack infrastructural and human development and there will be no need for agitations to fix the country.
Corporate bodies in Ghana profess to be pursuing CSR based on their own way of seeing it. The confusion that often arises stems, perhaps in part, from the misunderstanding with regard to what CSR is all about. When companies in Ghana make donations to the needy, hospitals and even ineffectual state institutions, they call it CSR. Some build schools and other social amenities for people in rural communities, others emblazon their brand logos and paint buildings among other things and describe them as CSR activities. In spite of attempts made to bring the issue of CSR to the forefront, it is signiﬁcant to note that the CSR concept has not been accorded its due in Ghana. Past studies including one study conducted by World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) entitled ‘Corporate Social Responsibility making good business sense, ‘all found that CSR did not seem high on the business agenda in Ghana.
One of the reasons adduced by these studies was that CSR is thought to be too expensive. Lack of government control and involvement is also cited as a reason for CSR having a lower priority. The studies also found out that there is little outside pressure on companies to encourage them to take the CSR initiative. Recent studies have also concluded that CSR is far from being given its due and that a lot more ought to be done by ﬁrms to make CSR a strategic concern. Nowhere in particular is the impact of CSR much more felt than the mining sector in Ghana. This is in view of the huge impact that it makes in host communities.
In the absence of a clear CSR policy, individuals, advocacy groups and public agencies seeking to hold corporations responsible for their social responsibilities usually encounter difficulties in doing so, probably because of the absence of a readily available source document on CSR for reference, particularly in the absence of any statutory or contractual obligation imposed on such corporations. Also, companies seeking to meet their corporate social responsibilities are not sure of whether they are doing what they should be doing and are unclear as to the exact parameters of CSR. So there is the need for a stronger partnership between government and the private sector to develop and implement the national development agenda.