About 18 State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs) are being considered for listing on the Ghana Stock Exchange (GSE) to attract indigenous capital and local participation in their operations, the Director-General of the State Interests and Governance Authority (SIGA), Stephen Asamoah-Boateng has said.
Mr Asamoah-Boateng who disclosed this yesterday, said the names of the companies, comprising both performing and non-performing ones, would be announced by the first quarter of next year.
Speaking on the second day of the 2020 Annual Policy and Governance Forum, organised by SIGA in Accra, he the move would ensure transparency as everyone would keep an eye on them.
The two-day event, which opened on Tuesday, was on the theme “SIGA: one year on: achievements, challenges and prospects,” and focused on activities of the Authority since its inception in August last year.
According to Mr Asamoah-Boateng, a maximum of 49 per cent of shares would be offloaded onto the stock market in the initial years until the deal yielded significant results.
“Government may hold the 51 just to be sure in the beginning but between any figure from 30 to 49, we will let go, If we find it very good, the government might let go of all 100,” he said.
Currently, Mr Asamoah-Boateng said, a technical committee made up of representatives from SIGA, GSE and the Ministry of Finance, was reviewing the companies and preparing ahead of the intended exercise.
Explaining the need for indigenous participation, he said the government wanted to prevent the situation whereby one strategic investor, usually foreigners, bought assets of companies, to allow Ghanaians do so and get the benefits.
In his view, the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) needed similar arrangement, instead of foreign strategic investor to enable the company become more efficient as well as address some of its operational challenges.
Mr Asamoah-Boateng said the number of SOEs being considered for listing might change, depending on the report of the technical committee, while same outcome would determine if some SOEs needed to be sold out completely.
Touching on debts of the SOEs, he said, efforts were being made to clear them through initiatives including converting some of them into equity, noting that, only legitimate debts would be considered for the equity.
According to him, more SOEs had requested to be considered for COVID-19 payroll support but SIGA would consider their pleas after reviewing their finances in collaboration with the Ministry of Finance.
He said all the aforementioned interventions were aimed at repositioning the SOEs for productivity to contribute to the development of the country and they, in return, needed to play their part to ensure it works.
For his part, the acting Auditor-General, Johnson Akuamoah Asiedu, urged state entities to corporate with his outfit for smooth audit, assuring them that the Auditor-General’s department was not out to witch-hunt anyone but only to ensure accountability.
BY JONATHAN DONKOR