Lack of effective supervision, procurement irregularities, misuse of funds and poor risk management and collaboration with auditors are among the major infractions by state-owned enterprises (SOEs).
Director-General, State Interest and Governance Authority (SIGA), Edward Boateng, revealed this at a joint Committee media briefing by both SIGA and the Auditor-General upon directives from the president to look into causes of infractions by most SOEs in the 2021 Auditor-General’s report.
“Upon completing the report, we noted that most SOEs are plagued with the above infractions including liquidity challenges,” he noted.
He said the Committee made key recommendations – including training CEOs on the Public Financial Management Act; thorough implementation of audit findings by management boards; and imposition of sanctions on CEOs if the recommendations are not executed.
SIGA maintained that the magnitude and impact of the infractions by these SOEs remains a source of grave concern, as most of the issues negate the fundamentals of corporate governance.
Mr. Boateng disclosed the readiness of SIGA to work with governing bodies of specified entities to develop asset revaluation policies, and subsequently implement them to meet best accounting practices.
Chief of Staff, Akosua Frema Osei-Opare – who received the committee’s report on behalf of President Akufo-Addo, said the document is a testament of government’s resolve to fight and weed-out wrongdoings in every sector of the economy.
She said government remains committed to finding lasting solutions to the problem of non-compliance with best financial reporting requirements.
“Government expects all SOEs to prioritise the preparation of their respective management and audited accounts in a timely manner, and collaborate with SIGA and the Auditor General to urgently clear all backlogs of unaudited accounts by end of year 2023,” Frema Osei-Opare directed.
She tasked SOEs to prepare management responses to audit queries and red flags raised by auditors, and also keep updated asset register and land title registrations at all times.
“I am confident that with effective collaboration, the implementation of these recommendations will see the public sector assume its envisioned role as the bedrock of Ghana’s economy and surpassing the envisaged target of contributing 30 percent of the country’s GDP,” she expressed.
Minister of Public Enterprises, Joseph Cudjoe, instructed all board members and stakeholders to take the report’s findings seriously.
The Deputy Auditor-General, Godfred Addison, tasked leadership of SOEs to work in collaboration with auditors and stop regarding them as opposition.
The report was necessitated by findings and performance of SOEs in the 2021 Auditor-General’s report. Total irregularities in the country’s public sector, according to the 2021 Auditor-General’s report, amounted to GH¢17billion. But SIGA maintained that most of these infractions were not necessarily linked to financial corruption; rather, infringements of regulations and corporate governance procedures.