Address by Hon. Dr Kwaku Afriyie, Minister in charge of State Interests and Governance Authority (SIGA) at the 2020 Annual Policy and Governance Forum
Your Excellency, Nana Addo Dankwah Akufo-Addo, President of the Republic of Ghana, colleague Ministers, Board Chairman of SIGA and other Board Members, the Director-General of SIGA, Board Chairs and Members of Specified Entities, Members of the Diplomatic Corps, CEOs and other Heads of the various Specified Entities, Development Partners, Members of the Press, Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, all protocols duly observed:
It is a great honor to address this august House for the first time after one year on, especially after executing a seemingly new mandate of overseeing and administering the State’s interests in Ghana’s State-owned Entities, Joint Venture Companies and other State Entities (i.e. Specified Entities). It is even more so in the presence of His Excellency, the President, who charged us to execute and fulfil this mandate!
In everything we do, we aim to make a clear connection between our work and the benefits it brings for our economy and the good people of our dear nation, Ghana. I have seen for the first time, a local State agency like the State Interests and Governance Authority support some near ailing Specified Entities (i.e SOEs, JVCs and OSEs) in its transformation—from crises, to recovery, to the creation of more jobs and higher living standards for its workers just within this one year of our existence.
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, being able to transmit the right signals is always important, but even more so when the global economy faces headwinds as a result of the rippling effects of the inevitable COVID-19 pandemic which has crippled every facet of our economy—health, education, energy, technology and even our daily basic engagements for survival. Indeed, after a synchronized upswing as a result of the prudent measures instigated by the Economic Management Team of our nation, even at the mercies of the harsh effects with which this pandemic brings, we are now facing a harmonized thrust, which is promising to enable the nation recoup all the strides and gains it has lost.
Today, we are here to give a narration of our journey so far. I am enthused by the theme for this year’s Policy and Governance Forum. It is a year on after we were given a new mandate of overseeing and administering the State’s interests in Specified Entities by the President, and I must say, that I am indeed proud, not only to be part of the agenda, but also as the lead facilitator for this historic change! Ladies and gentlemen, the theme for this year’s Policy and Governance Forum as has been stated is: “SIGA: ONE YEAR ON; ACHIEVEMENTS, CHALLENGES AND PROSPECTS”.
Indeed, change brings new opportunities but also risks, that we all must navigate. I have seen time and again how ordinary people benefit when transitions are well managed. It is very clear that with the inception of the State Interests and Governance Authority, with its objective of promoting within the framework of Government policy, the efficient and profitable operation of Specified Entities, there is now a new normal in doing business in our State agencies. A new normal of accountable and good corporate governance!
Personally, I am of the view that SIGA has an essential role in promoting sound policies for inclusive and sustainable growth. And I am mindful of the responsibility that comes with my position as the Minister in charge of the Authority—especially at a time of accelerating change in technology, the economy and the nature of work, to name just a few. It is by so doing that our collective responsibility of attaining a “Ghana beyond Aid” can be realized.
Mr. President, the Annual Performance Contract process since 2017 has witnessed an upward trend. There were twenty-five (25) Specified Entities which signed the 2017 Contract. This increased by 40% to thirty-five (35) Entities in 2018 and a further 34.3% in 2019 to forty-seven (47) Specified Entities. The inception of SIGA provided another push in the number of Specified Entities signing the Performance Contract from forty-seven (47) Entities in 2019 to sixty-three (63) Entities in 2020. This represents a 34% increase over the year 2019. The 2021 Performance Contract Negotiations targets ninety-six (96) Specified Entities.
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, SIGA has up to date carried out extensive tracking, identification and verification of Assets under the Divestiture Programme as prescribed by the Transitional Provisions of ACT 990. The Asset Verification has so far, identified and verified over 650 Assets (Factories, Land and Residential Properties) nationwide under the Divestiture Programme. SIGA has secured the Assets with manned security personnel.
Comrades, undoubtedly, SIGA has come to stay!
The Authority is committed to setting a prudent path, an important “transmission line”—of knowledge, financial resources, good policies, and capacity development. A wealth of experiences and tools that will help State-owned Enterprises, Joint Venture Companies and other State Entities embrace the benefits of change, and reduce the risk of falling behind. I am unwaveringly convinced that indeed, in no time, Ghana will realize its vision of attaining its short and long terms goals.
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, the President of the Land, permit me to express my profound appreciation to each and every one who has contributed immensely to ensuring the heights that this Authority has attained despite the fact that, there is more room for improvement.
I am humbled by the prudent measures, policies and consensus which have been rolled out by my gallant Board Members spearheaded by the able leadership of Mr. Terrence Darkoh over the time past and even presently. The level of dedication and passion of the Director-General, Hon. Stephen Asamoah-Boateng can never in anyway be overemphasized. He has transformed SIGA to the current state which is worthy of commendation.
Mr. President, the execution of the SIGA mandate rests on two solid pinnacles—Operations, and Finance and Administration. With a web of onerous responsibilities, there have been these two Managers who have worked assiduously to buttress the Director-General in the execution of his duties. They are in the persons of Mrs. Hollister Duah-Yentumi, who is in charge of Operations, and Mr. Andrews Kwesi Frimpong, in charge of Finance and Administration.
Again, my profound appreciation goes to all the various Heads of Divisions, both substantive and acting ones whose efforts have championed the course of this Authority in bringing us thus far. To the operational Staff (i.e. both junior and senior officers), you have really done well. Let the synergy you have brought forth since the inception of this journey not waive off. Continue to be on amber by being ever ready to confront the challenges which this job brings. It is by doing so that you will get to know and harness your innate potentials.
Your Excellency, colleague Ministers, Board Chairman of SIGA, the Director-General of SIGA, Board Chairs and Members of Specified Entities, Diplomatic Corps, CEOs and other Heads of the various Specified Entities, Development Partners, Members of the Press, Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, all protocols duly observed:
Indeed, I must say that I am honored to be granted this opportunity as the Minister of State in charge of the State Interests and Governance Authority. I am optimistic of the fact that very soon, we will not only be discussing the achievements and strides by the Authority but also, we will be running shoulders with oversight bodies like the Bretton Woods of which the International Monitory Fund is a member. Yes, it is possible… and we can!