SOEs to go under single supervisory body – Prez hints

Government is to establish a body to absorb all the supervisory roles played by ministries, the State Enterprises Commission (SEC) and other government agencies over State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs) as part of measures to avoid fragmentation and to promote efficiency, President Nana Akufo-Addo has said.

The President, in a speech read on his behalf by Senior Minister Yaw Osafo-Marfo during the signing of the 2018 performance contracts between SOEs and government last week, said currently multiple institutions including the Ministry of Finance, SEC and sector agencies perform various oversight functions on SOEs which will soon be replaced by an entity before end of this year.

“Fragmentation in government’s ownership structure, coupled with the absence of a clearly-defined ownership framework, has limited government’s ability to effectively oversee SOEs.

“To address this issue of fragmentation, we intend to establish a single entity by end of this year that will absorb all the functions currently exercised by the Ministry of Finance, the State Enterprise Corporation and other government institutions as far as SOEs are concerned,” President Akufo-Addo noted.

He said the entity will be equipped with the requisite powers and capacity to coordinate implementation of individual corporate governance action-plans for SOEs – adding that the Ministry of Finance has already started work on the corporate governance agenda, including securing Cabinet approval for implementation of selected governance improvements.

This single entity, the Senior Minister further explained, will also undertake corporate governance reforms in all SOEs; reforms that are being piloted in five key SOEs – Electricity Company of Ghana, Volta River Authority, Ghana National Petroleum Corporation, Ghana Water Company and TDC Company.

The decision, according to the president, is to among other things help ensure efficient supervision and management of state businesses, in a bid to turn around their performance.

In 2016, for instance, a total of 18 SOEs recorded a net loss of GH¢791million, in addition to over GH¢13million financial support and loans contracted.

Currently, there are 86 state-owned businesses, with 46 being wholly government-owned while 40 are joint ventures.