By Enimil Ashon
By popular request, Yours Truly continues this week, the conversations around state enterprises that are proving to be the exceptions in the midst of abysmal SOE performance.
Four weeks ago, I gave a snapshot of an SOE where ex-staff have not been paid their ex-gratia 10 years after retirement.
In one such organisation, workers now go to work in alternate batches: a certain number per week.
What exactly is the problem? I know of one or two organisations which are suffering the effect of dwindling demand for their products universally.
This week, I continue with SOEs whose performance is proof that the quality of management/board is a factor of change.
From what is unfolding at Ghana Oil Limited (GOIL), Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA) and the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA), I can hypothesise that knowledgeable CEOs who feel good about themselves, confident in their own abilities, and are driven by a vision bigger than themselves, are more likely to think with and empower line managers.
O, of course, they leave the corporate rod visible – just in case.
I can say this about two CEOs, namely Mr Kwame Osei Prempeh (GOIL), who has been around since 2019, and Mr Kwasi Agyemang, GTA’s whizz since 2017.
To these, add Nana Akomea of STC, about which I wrote last week.
To those of us who saw how low GOIL sank before 2012 — all doom and gloom — with nothing that attracted motorists to fill up or lubricate at its filling stations —the turnaround at this state oil marketer today is simply a case study at a Business School at Legon or GIMPA.
I am old enough to know that once upon a time, all filling stations were known as Shell.
Today, it is GOIL. From pre-2012 levels when GOIL filling stations could be counted on the fingers, the company currently has over 440 active stations across Ghana.
The company is now the market leader, with an overall market share of almost 16 per cent out of over 200 OMCs.
Today, besides aviation fuel, GOIL has the biggest Marine Gas Oil storage facility in Ghana, bunkering to both international and local vessels and ships at Takoradi.
Hungrier still, this Ghanaian company has set its sights on upstream oil exploration in the Cape Three Points enclave, for which it is looking for a partner, on its own steam.
Ghana Oil-GOIL. What a name.
The company is not likely to forget Frank Apeagyei, P.R and advertising guru, who coined the name years ago.
I have been around tourism since the mid-1980s, close enough to conclude that much of the high flying destination marketing by the authority is simply a factor of a CEO vision and management style.
I have seen staff empowered at GTA who had, for years, never dreamt of being entrusted with responsibility.
Akwasi Agyeman is a task master. His sin is that he will get the best out of a staff.
At GTA, there is a conscious policy to give everybody a chance to rise above ground level.
Cynics are wont to write off the prevailing GTA efficiency as a factor of the Bed Tax (1% Tourism Levy).
It indeed is a factor, but this writer can reel off a list of organisations that once sat around a pot of gold but are today so hungry their ribs are showing.
Backed by a Minister (Muhammed Awal) who hears and speaks no language other than “Let’s go for it”, GTA has not been the same ever since the launch of Year of Return, the most ambitious and best implemented state programme to date.
Once upon a time, we in Ghana spoke excitedly about South Africa’s international events and the Kenyan Tourism Magic.
Today, in Africa, it is “Destination Ghana”.
In one month, December 2019, Afrochela and Afro Nation attracted close to 100,000 Diasporan Africans to bask in Ghana’s music, food and fashion, history and culture.
With endorsements by CNN and NAACP, celebrities such as Naomi Campbell, Jet Lee, Jack Ma, Caddy B, Steve Harvey, Burna Boy, Iddris Elba, Danny Glover and Kofi Kingston made Ghana a must visit.
Then COVID struck.
But as the Ewe of Ghana are wont to say, “when sea dry you go by land”.
With flight bans from our major markets, GTA unleashed ‘Experience Ghana’, the most ambitious domestic tourism campaign to date (in my opinion), consciously opening up the country to Ghanaians.
From the north to the south, from the east to the west, Ghanaians went in search of excitement, in a country where the Ghana Statistical Service had empirically found out (2018) that “Ghanaians don’t travel for leisure”.
The result is a subject for another article.
But nothing beats the National Tourism Destination Single Window.
On the ‘Visit Ghana’ app and the Online Portal, tourists anywhere in the world can access information about Ghana, and book a flight, hotel, restaurant or game reserve all in advance.
Coming soon: DVLA
The writer is Executive Director, Centre for Communication and Culture.