State Enterprises Commission to become Authority

Cabinet has approved the legal framework that is expected to be forwarded for parliament to upgrade the State Enterprises Commission (SEC) to a State Interest and Governance Authority – to primarily promote good governance among state enterprises, the Executive chairman of SEC Stephen Asamoah-Boateng has said.

The State Enterprises Commission was established under the SEC Law 1987, to oversee and coordinate activities of state-owned enterprises to ensure targets are met. Its impact on the performance of the SOEs, however, has not been felt over the years – which has diminished its importance.

Presently, government holds varying equity interests in about eighty-four (84) companies, comprising forty-four (44) wholly state-owned enterprises (SOEs) and forty (40) Joint Venture Companies (JVCs).

Speaking at a press soiree in Accra on Wednesday to give an account of their one and half year tenure and other initiatives lined up, Mr. Asamoah-Boateng said: “The legal framework has been approved by Cabinet already, and hopefully should be put before parliament before they rise for this Christmas”.

He also indicated that SEC has spoken to the Ministry of Finance to provide stimulus packages for seven ailing state enterprises.

“About seven companies will benefit from stimulus packages. They will pay back. It is not free money; it will be linked to their pay structure.”

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On the possibility of some of the SOE’s listing on the stock exchange, he confirmed that it is a policy that will be pursued with the new authority coming into being.

“We want to prepare some of them which are not performing to go and be listed and compete; let Ghanaians buy into them and get them to respond to the public directly.

“But we also want to engage you and as well be responsible to the citizens they serve.”

He explained that they have signed an agreement for monitoring and evaluation, and if SoEs do not perform the new authority has the power to issue sanctions.

According to Mr. Asamoah-Boateng, about 40 SOEs in June 2018 signed performance contracts to be subjected to monitoring of their financials and output.

He also maintained that SEC will continue to keep an eye on the financials, legal framework and reporting systems of SOEs, and help cut wastage.

In 2017, the state-owned enterprises (SoEs) debt stood at GH¢8.2billion, the executive chairman noted.

The SEC, in a bid to get CEOs and MDs to interact among themselves, share knowledge and peer review each other, has created the Chamber of CEOs within the Commission.

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