Govt urged to minimise interference in decision making of SOEs 

Senior Partner at AB & David, David Ofosu-Dorte, says privatisation of State Owned Enterprises (SOEs) is not the only way to ensure they consistently churn out profit and help in the growth of Ghana’s economy.

According to him, in spite of the high proceeds, the net direct revenue from privatisation had been relatively modest, due to high debt, costs of divestiture and high outstanding liabilities of these firms.

In an interview with Citi Business News, David Ofosu-Dorte urged government to among other things, minimise its interference in the day-to-day decision-making activities of SOEs to address the annual losses they post and work towards becoming profitable institutions.

SOEs are significant players in many countries around the world, providing sizeable contributions to GDP, creating jobs, and supplying essential services to citizens.

As a result, the performance of SOEs has a direct impact on the social, political, and economic development of a country and on people’s everyday lives.

However, in Ghana like in many other countries, SOE sector has been characterised by chronic under-performance with poor returns on government investments and continuous reliance on government support, sometimes in the form of explicit government guarantees.

Some of these shortcomings can be attributed to major corporate governance failures, including weak managerial accountability, excessive politicisation and unclear objectives in some of the country’s largest and most important SOEs.

In Ghana, latest data from the 2020 State Ownership Report reveals that SOEs recorded an aggregate loss of GH¢2.61 billion in 2020. This represents nearly 50 per cent improvement over the 2019 aggregate loss of GH¢5.16 billion.

According to the report, SOEs’ combined revenue increased by 19.30 per cent, from GH¢37.912 billion in 2019 to GH¢45.23 billion in 2020.

Also, Joint Venture Companies portfolio moved from a loss position of GH¢1.05 billion in 2019 to a profit of approximately GH¢11.81 million in 2020.

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