Accra, March 12, GNA – Mrs Mona Quartey, the Deputy Finance Minister, has urged Boards, Management and Staff of State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs) to work as a team for higher productivity and the good of the country.
She advised the Boards and Management of SOEs to take up the challenge and come up with alternative and innovative ways to turn their companies around.
Mrs Quartey said this on Tuesday in Accra during the signing ceremony of the 2015 Performance Contract between the SOEs and the government.
She said the performance monitoring and evaluation system to which SOEs subscribed emphasised fairness to the SOEs and to the nation.
Mrs Quartey gave the assurance that the government would continue to provide the enabling environment for businesses to thrive in the country.
She appealed to the SOEs to position themselves to take advantage of the opportunities the economy would offer to help transform their enterprises from local entities to internationally competitive ones.
The Deputy Minister said contracts would serve as part of Team Ghana in a bid to grow the economy on a sustainable basis by delivering reliable service to the public in a timely manner whilst managing the costs.
She said due to the nature of SOEs operations, there could be a rise in potential sources of fiscal risk and it was therefore imperative that the government systematically monitored the operations to ensure that the risks were properly evaluated and mitigated.
She said the government currently had investments in 74 companies, 40 of which were SOEs, while 34 were Joint Ventures.
Mrs Quartey said the SOEs were made up of two groups – 31 were commercial companies and nine subvented organizations.
She said over the past five years, government had received dividend payment of approximately 262.54 million Ghana cedis from its investments in SOEs and the joint ventures, 16 out of the 34 ventures consistently paid dividend to government over the period under review, compared with only six of 40 SOEs paying dividend to Government.
She said: ‘We acknowledge the difficult conditions under which our SOEs have had to operate over the past year as a result of the general economic challenges the country faces.’
‘Together we can work assiduously to put the country’s economy back on track. However, as we do so, it is imperative that our SOEs begin to look at alternative, innovative and sustainable ways that could propel the growth of the various institutions.’
She urged SOEs to take a cue from GIHOC Distilleries that turned things around from a very bad situation as a result of conscious effort by Board and Management supported by Government.
‘We urge you as managers of our companies to actively strategise on getting weaned off Government,’ added.
Mrs Quartey said it was important that the SOEs did not only dwell on some of the limitations imposed on them as a result of the government being the shareholder but turn the vast opportunities available into real gains.
‘I would therefore, like to take this opportunity to encourage enterprises such as Ghana Water Company, Electricity Company and others, providing such important and critical social services to take up the challenge to deliver quality work efficiently,’ Mrs Quartey said.
She said in fairness to the SOEs, managers of the enterprises were granted autonomy to operate; declaring that ‘managerial autonomy however, goes with responsibility, accountability and transparency’.
‘We expect improved and high levels of revenue collection from SOEs which sell service or goods to the general public’.
She said on the part of government, all arrears which placed a burden on the tax payers would be cleared to zero over the next three years whist ensuring that none or very little new arrears were created going forward.
Mrs Quartey said it was government’s intention to establish a more effective and rigorous performance monitoring system that would ensure that performance lapses were identified on a more frequent basis.
Dr Camynta Baezie, Executive Chairman of the State Enterprises Commission, said the Commission would instill discipline in SOEs to help improve their financial and other management performance practices to enable them move to self-sufficiency and reduce government funded debt burden.
Among the heads of the various SOEs which signed the performance contract were Dr Bernard Otabil, the Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana News Agency and Mr Kenneth Ashigbey, the Managing Director of the Graphic Communications Group.
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