Cut out laziness, over-dependence on religion – Amoabeng’s advice to businesses
UT Bank co-founder Prince Kofi Amoabeng has urged local businesses to create a work culture that is totally different from the Ghanaian one that is “generally, one of laziness, pulling people down, disrespect, jealousy, trying to shift blame, and over-dependence on religion to the point that people don’t come to work” if they want to succeed.
Speaking at the 25th-anniversary launch of Fairgreen Limited in Accra on Wednesday, 26 July 2023, Mr Amoabeng, whose bank was one of the nine that had their licences revoked by the Bank of Ghana in 2018, also advised businesses against being cosy with politicians, pastors and traditional leaders if they intend to last long.
“Politicians and pastors are necessary evils because they can give you the right connections”, he acknowledged, but cautioned: “However, they also need to milk you, and they can raise your company to a high status if you have the right relationships”.
“But, be careful. Don’t accept chieftaincy titles. They will drain your finances and time, and you will be responsible for the expenses of durbars”, he warned, noting: “These are the things that have set this country back”. “Make sure you don’t fall prey to any of them, whether it’s the church, chiefs, politicians, or your own families. You have to navigate carefully”, he cautioned.
The former military officer also warned businesses against hiring family and friends if they cannot dispose of their services when they do wrong.
“When you start a business, you are under the radar and can be a bit protective, but, as you grow, you come under pressure, I call this pressure ‘dealing with the devil’. You must deal with them. You can’t avoid them”. He explained: “Family, friends, and relatives will ask why you are always employing strangers when your family members are available”.
“They want to kill the company”, he said, stressing: “You need to be strong enough to fire them when they do something wrong. If you don’t have the will to fire them, don’t appoint them”.
He advised Fairgreen Limited to create a work culture “that is different from the Ghanaian culture” if it wants to live to be a century old.
“We all pray that this company, which started from a garage and has now taken international contracts, will be one of the very few Ghanaian companies that will live for 100 years”.