The 18th Ashanti Business and Financial Services Excellence Awards and 7th Ashanti Business Leaders Excellence Awards ceremonies have been held jointly at the Golden Tulip Kumasi City Hotel.
Organised by Top Brass Ghana under the auspices of Manhyia Palace, the complementary Ashanti Business and Financial Services Excellence Awards and Ashanti Business Leaders Excellence Awards Schemes, according to Isaac Dakwa, Director of Top Brass Ghana, have the common objective of promoting the economic development of Ashanti by acknowledging the critical contribution of business and finance houses to Ashanti’s development process and honouring deserving economic operators.
In a speech read on his behalf by the Oyokohene, Nana Agyekum Kusi Ababio, the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, drew attention to the Global Peace Index which ranked Ghana as high as second best in Africa. While noting that Ghana stands to reap benefits from the peace dividend, he admonished his “fellow countrymen not to take the prevailing peace in the country for granted”.
Otumfuo observed that in most parts of the world afflicted by internal wars and other devastating conflicts, the underlying causes have invariably been ethnic division or religious intolerance. Stressing that conflict in any form and whatever its origin must be avoided at all cost, firstly, as a matter of course and secondly, so as not to scare away foreign direct investment into our dear country, he warned that no right-thinking investors, as they normally are, will invest their resources in a conflict-infested Ghana.
Otumfuo alluded to previous Ashanti Business Excellence Awards Ceremonies when he had drawn the attention of Government to the predicament of Ghana’s once vibrant poultry industry which regrettably has been in a state of distress in recent years. He was therefore immensely gratified that Government is now injecting the requisite capital into the poultry industry to ensure its revival and sustainability.
Otumfuo emphasised that rejuvenating the poultry industry to expand production to meet demand will not only generate employment for the Ghanaian youth but will also save our nation the colossal amounts of foreign currency which Ghana expends annually on the importation of poultry products from abroad.
Turning to business management, Otumfuo asserted that the application of technology has become an integral component of modern corporate operations and it is absolutely essential that businesses make the relevant investments promptly.
In the face of the economic upheaval caused by the corona pandemic, Otumfuo appealed to the business community to be optimistic about the future and to endeavour to increase investment in technology in order not only to survive the pandemic but so as to be positioned to achieve post-COVID recovery.
Otumfuo took the opportunity to commend the Ghana Free Zones Authority for commissioning a number of Industrial Parks in the Ashanti Region.
He noted that the Boankra Inland Port Project which is the centre piece of the Free Zone enclaves in Ashanti had unfortunately been on the drawing board for decades and entreated the Authority to ensure its timely completion as envisaged. Otumfuo extended a cordial invitation to potential investors, both Ghanaian and international, to channel their investments into these Industrial Parks to take advantage of the associated benefits.
In a message read on his behalf by Kennedy Kankam, Municipal Chief Executive of Asokore Mampong Municipality, the Ashanti Regional Minister, Simon Osei Mensah, who was the Guest of Honour, reminded the gathering that Government had the welfare of the private sector at heart.
The Regional Minister, declared that it was in furtherance of this commitment to the private sector that Government had introduced policies and programmes such as the 1 District 1 Factory Initiative; reduction in the import tax and access to Exim Bank loans at interest rates as low as 5%, among several business-friendly programmes.
The Chairman for the occasion, Ing. Prof. Nana Osei-Wusu Achaw who is the Vice-Chancellor of Kumasi Technical University, highlighted the importance of the private sector to Ghana’s economic development. He recalled that according to one estimate only 5.5% of Ghana’s labour force is engaged by Government.
This, he inferred, meant that the overwhelming majority of the country’s work force is in the private sector. He therefore appealed to Government to create the appropriate conducive environment in which the private sector can effectively and efficiently operate.
Altogether 25 enterprises and six individuals were honoured at the Awards Dinner. Of this, four, namely, Abraham Odjidja Enterprise; Ike’s Café and Grill; Rattray Park and Ridge Condos received Silver Awards.
Among the corporate Gold Award winners were: Access Bank Limited; Adansi Rural Bank Limited; Amansie West Rural Bank Limited; Dredge Masters; E. K. Agyeman Mining Group Limited; Enterprise Trustees; Federated Commodities Limited; Japan Motors Trading Company Limited; Latex Foam Rubber Products Limited; Melcom Limited; Metropolitan Life Insurance Ghana Limited; Noda Hotel; Nwabiagya Rural Bank Limited; Social Security and National Insurance Trust; Western Mall and Vanguard Assurance Company Limited.
Six outstanding business gurus were also honoured. These were: Mr. Albert Acquah, founder, Garden City University College; Mr. Edward Yaw Frimpong, Chief Executive Officer, Edward Yaw Frimpong Transport Company Limited; Mr. Amar Deep Singh Hari, Chief Executive Officer, IPMC; Mr. Patrick Owusu, Chairman, Atwima Kwanwoma Rural Bank Limited; Mr. Stefano Ramella Pezza, Managing Director, Consar Limited and Mr. Mukesh Thakwani, Chief Executive Officer, B5 Plus Limited.
The topmost Platinum Award was conferred on three financial institutions: Atwima Kwanwoma Rural Bank Limited; SIC Life Company Limited and Star Assurance Company Limited.