Making State-Owned enterprises (SOEs), Joint Venture Companies (JVCs) and other state entities more viable for profitability will be one of the focuses of the newly created State Interests and Governance Authority (SIGA), the Director-General of the authority, Mr. Stephen Asamoah Boateng, has disclosed.
According to him, the government was interested in seeing SOEs, JVCs and other state entities set up for commercial purposes flourish.
He explained that those entities could be made profitable by training their managers and staff for them to adhere to good corporate governance systems.
At the opening of a two-day 2019 Policy and Governance Forum organised in Accra yesterday, Mr. Asamoah Boateng said SIGA would not hesitate to sanction SOEs, JVCs and other state entities that did not invest in the training of their staff.
He explained that the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA), for instance, was set up to provide such corporate governance training for entities in the country.
Mr. Asamoah Boateng said there was the need to change the way SOEs, JVCs and other state entities operated, noting that such changes could be achieved through training of managers of such facilities.
According to him, SOEs, JVCs and other state entities held about 50 per cent of national assets, hence the need to ensure that those who managed such state assets were properly trained to enhance their competence.
He said SIGA would work with all SOEs, JVCs and other state entities to ensure that they were insulated from political pressures in their operations.
Mr. Asamoah Boateng urged SOEs and JVCs to help the country by turning around their businesses, saying “if you turn around your businesses, the politician will go out there and say, I have done it…and that is what the politician is looking for.”
“We will build the capacity of your staff and management,” he said, explaining that if staff and managers of SOEs and JVCs were not trained, they could not deliver.
Speaking on the topic: “State Ownership Policy”, the Managing Director of Continental Consultants Ghana Limited, Mr. Yaw Adu-Boahen, said decision making in SOEs and JVCs would be evidence based.
According to him, managers and boards of SOEs and JVCs needed to take decisions that were practical and implementable in their organisations, saying there should be “more of common sense in boards’ decisions.”
Speaking on the theme: “SOEs, JVCs and other State entities as drivers of ‘Ghana Beyond Aid’ Agenda”, a Senior Partner of Africa Legal Associates, Mr. Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko, said the President’s Ghana Beyond Aid agenda could be achieved if SOEs, JVCs, and other state entities were financially sound.
According to him, the country could break free from aid dependency syndrome, if its SOEs and other entities in which the State had interest were managed well.
Mr. Otchere-Darko said the role of SOEs and those entities in which the State had stakes were critical to the country’s development, adding that corporate governance was key to growing and sustaining any organisation, be it privately or publicly owned.
He bemoaned the fact that many SOEs, JVCs and other state entities did not have corporate governance policies, and called on SIGA to set up a committee to ensure that they all institute corporate governance policies.
Many SOEs and other state entities “are known to disregard corporate governance”, Mr. Okyere-Darko said, pointing out that it was about time such attitudes were changed.
According to him, the lack of transparency and supervision of SOEs had contributed to the mess in the country’s banking sector, and led to the collapse of many SOEs and JVCs in the country.
Touching on the recent banking sector clean-up, Mr. Otchere-Darko described the exercise as “the return of stateism.”
According to him, the banking sector clean-up was a necessary step the government had taken to restore sanity in the sector and also to protect the wastage of state resources in helping the affected banks.
He said the two structural drivers of any country’s development were industries and a strong financial services sector.
Mr. Otchere-Darko posited that SOEs played a crucial role in any country and that if they were managed well, their contributions to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) would be enormous.