Government adopts State-Owned Enterprises action plan

By Morkporkpor Anku/Julius K. Satsi, GNA

Accra, Sept. 27, GNA – Mr Ken Ofori-Atta, the
Minister of Finance on Wednesday said government had adopted and initiated the
implementation of an Action Plan to improve governance of the State-Owned
Enterprise sector and enhance corporate governance practices.

The Action Plan seeks to improve the legal and
regulatory framework, strengthen government’s ownership role, professionalising
the boards of SOEs and enhancing transparency, accountability and disclosure.

Mr Ofori-Atta was speaking at the opening of
the 2018 SOE Policy and Governance Forum in Accra on the theme: “Promoting Good
Corporate Governance in the SOE sector through Accountability, Transparency and
Integrity.” 

The forum, which is an annual event, commenced
in 2017 and brings together key stakeholders in the SOEs sector for assessment
in how well or otherwise the sector had performed in the past year and to
discuss opportunities and challenges that affect performance.

Mr Ofori-Atta said the significance of SOEs to
the country’s economic growth could not be underrated because effectively
managed, efficiently performing and well-governed SOEs acted as an extension of
the capacity of the state.

He said: “Many of our SOEs generate relatively
low or negative revenues in spite of huge capital injections into their
operations,” adding that, the Government sees opportunity to address some of
the inefficiencies leveraging the principles of good corporate governance in
SOEs and other public sector institutions.

Mr Henry Kerali, the World Bank Country
Director for Ghana, said the proposed policy should define State-Owned
Enterprise (SOE) objective, including the separation of commercial and
non-commercial policy objectives, financing of the costs directly from the
budget in a timely and transparent manner.

He said to enhance transparency and disclosure
of financial and operational results at the SOE level, there was the need to
adopt international financial reporting standards, accounting and auditing
requirements to bring more accountability comparable to global institutions.

’’The annual reports of SOEs should be
published in their entirety on company and government websites, along with a
consolidated report for SOE sector as a whole,’’ he added.

He called on Government to establish a
well-defined State Ownership Policy to fill the regulatory gaps, provide a
sound foundation for good corporate governance and make the broad policy
directions of the state clear.

He said there was the need to institute turn
around strategies for individual SOEs, with the aim of stabilising the finances
of the SOEs and eliminating any arrears between SOEs and Government, adding
that, “This policy is critical for financial stability of the sector and
government”.

Mr Yaw Osafo-Maafo, the Senior Minister,
commenting on the 2017 Annual State-Ownership Report, said there was a highly
unsatisfactory compliance of SOEs to the Public Financial Management Act.

He urged the Chief Executive Officers and
Managers of the SOEs to amend their ways and comply with the law that
established them.

He said in 2017, 14 out of the 86 entities in
which government maintains equity, paid dividends and that, majority of the 14
entities were Joint Venture Companies, with only 3 of them being SOEs.

GNA

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