The Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Godfred Yeboah Dame, has charged State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs) and Other Specified Entities (OSEs) to adhere to the highest standards of good corporate governance to be more efficient and effective.
He said efficient and effective State-Owned Enterprises are necessary for a country’s development, stressing that they play a pivotal role in providing essential services, driving economic growth, and generating revenue for the State.
Speaking at the 2nd Public Enterprises League Table (PELT) Awards to honour performing SOEs and OSEs in Accra, Mr Dame explained that by promoting sound governance practices, SOEs and OSEs would create an environment that enabled them to operate efficiently, reduce wastage, and continually strive for improvement.
“Good corporate governance ensures transparency, accountability, and fairness in the management and decision-making processes of these entities. It instills investor and public confidence, attracts investment, and safeguards the interests of stakeholders, including the citizens of Ghana,” he indicated.
The A-G stressed the need for SOEs and OSEs to operate within the confines of the Public Financial Management Regulation 2019 (L.I. 2378) to bring clarity to processes and functions outlined in the Public Financial Management Act, 2016 (Act 921).
Those laws, he explained, set a high standard for accountability and performance measurement in the public sector and provided a framework that ensured prudent financial management, transparency, and the efficient use of public resources.
“Therefore, Specified Entities must operate within the confines of the laws to be able to demonstrate good corporate governance culture,” he stressed.
He urged boards of specified entities to take the responsibility of ensuring that the mandates of their entities were fulfilled, saying “by so doing, there is assurance that as fiduciaries, the interest of their principals, which are the people of Ghana, is held and promoted.”
Taking his turn, the Minister of Public Enterprises, Mr Joseph Cudjoe, said SOEs and OSEs had made significant progress since the current government assumed office some seven years ago.
He said, since 2017, there had been improved compliance by SOEs to the regulatory frameworks such as adherence to the Public Financial Management Act.
Mr Cudjoe cited an instance where there had been compliance with the signing of performance contracts, with about 73 performance contracts signed as compared to the 16 that were signed in 2016.
“By the end of April, you have prepared the audited account. You will be surprised to learn that a lot of the enterprises met that deadline, others haven’t, but in requirement of the Financial Management Act, which put it at almost six months, you have seen a lot of companies still complying,” he indicated.
On profitability, Mr Cudjoe said the SOEs had been able to reduce losses from some GHC5.16 billion in 2019 to GHC1.7 billion in 2021.
“So, it means that, if we are measuring performance on the scale of good, better, best we may not be there for us to have said we have attained the best position we desire, but measuring our performance on a scale of bad, worse, worst, in which case the bad is the best, we have done well because we have moved a situation from the worst position through a worse to bad which is not what we desire, but we are moving to get the best results, which is the outcome the President expects of us,” he said.
Mr Edward Boateng, Director-General of the State Interest and Governance Authority (SIGA), encouraged SOEs to expand their operations beyond the shores of the country to enhance their profitability.
He also emphasised the timely delivery of reports by the SOEs to SIGA to enable the Authority to effectively deliver on their mandate.
SOEs and OSEs awarded included; Most Compliant SOE– Ghana National Petroleum Commission; Most Compliant OSE – Ghana Irrigation Development Authority; Most Profitable SOE – Ghana Airport Company Limited; Most Efficient OSE – Ghana Meteorological Agency and Most Financially Sustainable OSE – Gaming Commission of Ghana.
The rest are; Best SOE (Dynamic Effect) – Northern Electricity Development Company; Best OSE (Dynamic Effect) – Food and Drugs Authority (FDA); SOE of the Year – Ghana Civil Aviation Authority; OSE of the Year – FDA and the Entity of the Year Award – FDA.