Law to oversee state’s interests in SoEs in the offing

PARLIAMENT is to enact a law to oversee and administer the state’s interests in State-owned Enterprises (SoEs), joint venture companies and other entities in which the state has an interest. 

To be known as the State Interests and Governance Authority (SIGA) Act, it is also to ensure that SoEs adhered to good corporate practices to promote growth of industry and commerce. 

The need for the new law which is set to undergo consideration in Parliament, according to the Finance Committee’s Report, is to reform the governance structure of all entities. 

“This is because none of the interventions of government to help streamline the operations and activities of the state entities have had the intended impact. 

“As a result, government has resolved to adopt the single entity model to help harmonise guidelines and policies to oversee and administer entities in which the state has interest,” the Finance Committee’s report presented to Parliament in Accra yesterday at the second reading of the bill said. 

Many of the SoEs, the report noted, have consistently underperformed regarding their objectives while others continue to incur loses prompting an assessment of the corporate governance framework of the SoE sector from 2013 and 2015. 

The assessment which focused on 39 wholly-owned SoEs revealed an aggregate loss of approximately GH¢15 million as at the end of the 2012 financial year. 

Per the report, the authority would enhance coordination in the management of state interests and ensure a clear line of accountability from SoEs and other interests. 

“It is expected that this would boost performance and enhance the profitability of the entities…..and ultimately lead to increased returns to the state in the form of dividends and surpluses,” the report indicated. 

Signed by the chairman of the committee, Dr Mark Assibey-Yeboah, the report said after the re-organisation of the of the entities, “any staff found to be misplaced would be absorbed into another public service organisation where his or her expertise would be most needed” to address any job losses. 

On debts owed the SoEs, the report said the State Enterprises Commission was in the process of compiling an up-to-date debt position of the SoEs, adding that the authority would be mandated to report on the financial status of SoEs including their debt portfolios annually. 

The initial cost of setting up the authority, the report said was estimated at GH¢15,151,076 which includes compensations of employees, use of goods and services as well as capital expenditure. 

“After a careful consideration, the committee is of the view that the [38 clause] bill is in the right direction and therefore recommends to the House to adopt and pass the State Interests and Governance Bill, 2019,” the report urged the lawmakers.


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