By Godwill Arthur-Mensah, GNA
Accra, Jan. 8, GNA – Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia on Wednesday reaffirmed Government’s commitment to implement strategic interventions to restore confidence in the State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs) to accelerate economic growth.
In this regard, he said, government facilitated the passage of the State Interest and Governance Accountability Bill into law, (Act 990) in 2019, to comprehensively deal with the teething challenges facing state entities.
He said Government’s economic policy objectives, among others, are to build the most business friendly economy, create jobs and improve the lives of Ghanaians; therefore the state entities have a pivotal role to play by developing new culture and behavioral changes to help achieve the set objectives.
Vice President Bawumia gave the assurance at the 2020 Performance Contract Signing ceremony of 80 state entities, in Accra, under the auspices of the State Interests and Governance Authority (SIGA).
President Akufo-Addo, in June last year, inaugurated the Board of Directors of SIGA, previously known as the State Enterprise Commission (SEC), charged with the responsibilities of implementing comprehensive policies and guidelines to help state entities to become high performers and ensure sound accountability practices.
The signing ceremony was held under the theme: “Transforming State Entities to Contribute Significantly towards Ghana Beyond Aid”, and it brought together Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) of state-owned enterprises, Ministers of State, development partners and the diplomatic community.
The contracts were signed between the Board of Directors and Management of Specified State Entities on one part, and the Government, represented by SIGA and the respective Sector Ministries on the other side, in fulfillment of a statutory provision under the Regulations (196) of the Public Financial Management Act (L.I 2378).
The contracts focused on enhancing service delivery and efficiency of 19 different sectors of the economy including manufacturing, agriculture, housing, trade, energy, aviation, roads, education, science, labour relations and transportation.
Vice President Bawumia acknowledged the challenges faced by state-owned enterprises such as huge legacy debts, low working capital and weak corporate governance structures and reiterated government’s commitment to take strategic steps to fixing and restoring confidence in state entities.
However, he said, with those state enterprises that have proven to be inefficient, government may decide to either invite private sector participation or put them out for outright sale.
He noted that state entities have the potential to grow the economy, accelerate socio-economic transformation and provide opportunities for jobs and wealth creation and thus, urged the managers of those institutions to be innovative, in order to achieve their objectives.
“The continued presence of the Boards and CEOs of these state entities will be justified by their performance as rightly stated in the Public Financial Management Act. The Ghana Beyond Aid is a national transformation agenda and that we want the mindset and behavioral changes that will make us pursue that vision.
It is this reason that government is aligning the performance of state entities where her investment lies with the vision of economic transformation agenda,” Vice President Bawumia explained.
He was of the conviction that with the youthful population and entrepreneurial skills coupled with the numerous natural resource endowments, the country could turn things around for the better.
Mr Stephen Asamoah Boateng, the Director-General of SIGA, in his welcome address, announced that SIGA will publish a performance League Table of CEOs and state entities in the last week of July, this year and, therefore, entreated all CEOs and SOEs to pull their weight in order not place bottom of the table.
He said the Authority would carry out its mandate of monitoring and evaluating the performances of all SOEs and that those that fall below the required standard would be sanctioned accordingly.