A CONVERSATION WITH THE PRESIDENT
The President, H. E. Nana Akufo Addo has held a meeting with Governing Board Chairpersons of Specified Entities (SEs) on improving the performance of SOEs and Public Corporations as well as reducing perennial losses and audit infractions.
The event which was held at the presidency was organised by SIGA in collaboration with the Ministries of Finance and Public Enterprises. The event was on the theme: “Improving Efficiency and Productivity in Specified Entities”.
Ambassador Edward Boateng, Director-General of SIGA in his welcome said;
“Your Excellency, as you indicated in your communication with us, the purpose of this meeting is to have an inclusive conversation with yourself on Government’s expectation of the Sspecified Entities, their prevailing challenges, and the significant role you expect Board Chairs to play”.
You also stated your concerns about the many infractions cited in the 2021 Auditor General and 2020 State Ownership Reports and want to hear from the Chairpersons why these challenges keep coming up year after year.
D-G concluded by drawing the attention of the board chairs to the fact that the 5% contribution to GDP was not the best since Specified Entities together hold 50% of the State’s assets.
The CEO of Fair Wages and Salaries Commission Mr. Benjamin Arthur spoke on the need to link salaries to productivity. He bemoaned the issue of Entities paying themselves bonuses when they have not paid dividends to the owner which is government.
He disclosed that in the age of digitalisation his outfit and the office of the Vice President of Ghana are working on a system that will help entities to measure the productivity of workers and called on entities to engage their service in dealing with salary related issues.
Hon. Isaac Osei
Hon. Isaac Osei, lauded the president for his several initiatives such as 1 District 1 Factory, Free SHS and Technical and Vocational Education.
He promised they will task their respective management teams to make profit to pay dividends and to contribute much needed revenue to GDP. He however bemoaned the practice where CEOs have direct access to the executive arm of government and use that advantage to take decisions without recourse to their boards.
Hon. Cudjoe’s Address
He expressed his happiness at meeting board chairs again after their last meeting in March this year.
“When I addressed you, I enumerated some 10 key points you must note to enhance the discharge of your responsibilities as Boards to provide an effective oversight for management of the public enterprises to make them effective, efficient and contribute to the government’s budget”.
“We are here today to meet with H.E the President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo, to re-emphasize our unflinching commitment to his vision, which we all share to ensure that public enterprises work hard and differently to achieve profitability, efficiency and economy”.
The Hon. Joseph Cudjoe, reminded the board that the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has appointed them to solve a 65-year-old problem which includes: non-performance, uneconomic, unprofitable, unsustainable, ineffective, inefficient, unproductive, uncompetitive operations.
In his Address, the President charged SIGA to consider organizing such meeting on a quarterly or half yearly basis one so as to collectively find solution to the challenges of our Specified Entities. He expressed worry about the recent Auditor General’s reported infraction in its 2021 Report and 2020 State Ownership Report.
“I believe all of you have read the 2021 Auditor-General’s report, and have seen the numerous infractions stated on the part of the Specified Entities. The report clearly shows an increase in infractions, which demands answers from all of you here.
Let us remember that Specified Entities have been set up to provide efficient public services, promote public economic activities, and contribute to our GDP, reduce our imports, increase exports, and, thereby, strengthen our economy, whilst creating jobs for our people.
He bemoaned that productivity in SEs are not getting better and reminded them of sanctions in the SIGA Act.
I will continue to advocate for good corporate governance practices in our Specified Entities, where boards effectively oversee and direct management. Boards must desist from interfering in day-to-day management of their respective Specified Entities, and making unwarranted demands on their management. You must remember that, in each of your entities, you have, apart from SIGA, an overall supervisor or monitor, which is the relevant sector Minister, and, ultimately, the Minister for Public Enterprises. If the hierarchy is rigorously maintained, we are guaranteed an enhanced performance and output of your various entities.
He asked Boards chairs to take advantage of the formation of the Africa Chamber of Board Chairpersons whilst calling on them to prioritise the payment of dividends which most of them are not doing.
H.E. encourage the SEs to do intertrading and pledged his support to SIGA and other oversight bodies.
The open session ended and the meeting continued in camera.