‘State Enterprises Need Competent CEOs’

Dr. Steve Manteaw

Dr Steve Manteaw, the representative of Ghana Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (GHEITI) on the Public Interest Accountability Committee (PIAC), says the appointment of political figures to lead State-owned Enterprises (SoEs) is outmoded and should be discontinued.

He said the practice has denied Ghana the opportunity of getting competent personalities to develop various sectors of the economy, adding that that could partly be the reason for the inefficiency in many SoEs.

“They don’t get the brightest and best in their sectors to take up the leadership positions in these State-owned Enterprises,” Dr. Manteaw noted.

He said this in an exclusive interview with BUSINESS GUIDE in Koforidua after a workshop organised by PIAC and Institute of Financial and Economic Journalists (IFEJ).

The workshop sought to interrogate the 2016 Semi Annual Public Interest and Accountability Committee (PIAC) Report.

“In my view, we should appoint people to these positions through a competitive process; possibly supervised by the Public Services Commission. Interested persons will have to bring their certificates and CVs and also go through a competitive interviewing session. You show your competence, track-record and above all your integrity and once you are appointed, you should have a contract.

“The contract can either have a fixed term or renewable and should be crafted in a way that makes it difficult for any State-owned Enterprise head to be removed politically, and even if that happens, there should be a substantial compensation for the removal. If there are consequences for removing such heads, then governments in power will think twice about taking that decision. That way, we will be able to retain very good materials and ensure that State-owned Enterprises function effectively.”

Dr Manteaw added that the excessive power of government motivates new administrations to remove existing heads and replace them with party loyalists as a reward for their contribution towards the victory of a ruling party or for just being members.

He suggested the listing of SoE, especially the commercial ones on the Ghana Stock Exchange to ‘dilute’ government’s share and reduce its power to replace the heads of SoEs at will, especially for political reasons.

“The way to achieve that is to dilute the ownership of these State owned Enterprises, but I am not suggesting in any way that we should offload government’s interest in these State-owned Enterprises to foreign companies, I’d rather that they are retained by Ghanaians. I would prefer that we offload the majority of government’s interest in these companies on the stock exchange in a way that makes Ghanaians part owners of their own enterprises and give them a say in how these enterprises are managed.”

Dr Manteaw cited the recent controversy over the appointment of the CEO of GOIL, saying government does not have absolute power to replace him at will.

From Ebo Bruce-Quansah, Bolgatanga