Let SOEs play intended roles -World Bank country boss
Mr Henry Kerali, the Country Director of the World Bank, says the Government should outline specific mandate and operations of State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs) to ensure the provision of quality public services.
He said underperforming SOEs resulted in high cost to the economy, waste of resources and financial loss to the state.
Therefore, he said, SOEs should be allowed to play their intended and strategic roles to ensure the development of the nation.
He noted that the key challenge facing many developing countries, including Ghana, was that SOEs were not made to play their intended strategic roles properly, therefore, defeating the purpose for their establishment.
Mr Kerali said this in a speech read on his behalf at the opening of a two-day SOE Policy and Governance Forum in Accra on Tuesday to discuss challenges bedevilling them and give suggestions that would enable them to deliver on their mandate.
The forum brought together chief executive officers of the SOEs, regulators, multinational and donor partners, professionals from academia and civil society organisations.
He commended the Government for the timely organisation of the forum and strategic policies being rolled out to resuscitate those enterprises.
He said experiences from other countries showed that lack of good governance, clear mandate and entrenched political tendencies had been the bane of SOEs.
Mr Kerali said there was a solid theoretical and practical justification for the establishment of SOEs in view of the provision of vital services to the public such as water and electricity.
He said public investment played a critical role not only for promoting sustained growth, but also contributed towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.
Mr Kerali said the typical place to provide basic public services was through the public sector and, thus, called for improved taxation to spur inclusive growth and boost prosperity for all.
He said the World Bank, in partnership with the Swiss Secretariat for Economic Affairs, was supporting Ghana’s Government to undertake corporate governance assessment in several commercial and regulatory entities to ensure efficient provision of services.
He called for legal and regulatory framework to foster public-private sector investment.