I thank the Minister for Public Enterprises and the Director General of the State Interests and Governance Authority (SIGA) for the invitation to be here, and for putting together this important ceremony.

As we aim to realise the vision of a Ghana Beyond Aid, it is critical that our State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs) run efficiently so that they can contribute positively to the nation’s transformation agenda. All of you present here this morning are an integral part of helping us realise this vision, and I am glad to be here with you.

Prior to the onset of COVID-19, Government had instituted a number of policies and programmes which had succeeded, albeit modestly, in promoting a business-friendly environment, attracting investments, creating jobs, growing the economy, and enhancing the living standards of the Ghanaian people.

Today, some sixteen (16) months later, these achievements have been significantly eroded, thanks to COVID-19. Whereas there are positive signs of recovery emerging from many parts of the world, there are still some countries that are facing dire conditions. We, in Ghana, through hard work and with the grace of God, have, however, been placed firmly back on a path to recovery, as recent credible assessments have established. Indeed, even in the midst of a global recession, our economy was one of the very few to have recorded a positive GDP growth in 2020.

This development has been buttressed further by the news that, in the first quarter of 2021, the economy witnessed, according to the Ghana Statistical Service, a 3.1 percent rate of GDP growth. Even better is the fact that, according to one of the globally most respected credit rating agencies, Fitch Solutions, Ghana is projected to be the fastest growing economy in Africa this year, restoring our position before the pandemic.

Accordingly, I want to use the opportunity of this platform to commend you, Managers of the State Entities, for sustaining your organisations satisfactorily, and for contributing to this positive development, in the midst of this unknown foe. Part of the credit for this evolution goes to the activities of the new Board of SIGA, under the chairmanship of an outstanding personality of Ghana’s private sector, Terry Darko.

The theme for this event, “Driving the Implementation of Performance Enhancement Measures in SOEs, JVCs and Other State Entities”, has, thus, taken on even more significance, as we strive to return our lives to normalcy, and our economy to the kinds of growth it enjoyed prior to the onset of the pandemic.

Historically, our nation has had difficulties in fashioning out a comprehensive strategic approach to managing the SOE sector. Conflicting objectives, dispersed monitoring systems, lack of transparency and weak lines of accountability have been symptomatic of Ghana’s underperforming SOE sector. Upon our assumption of office, back in January 2017, we had to spend a significant amount of our time addressing the challenges we inherited from our predecessors, which almost crippled the SOEs. These included legacy debts, low working capital, weak corporate governance structures, multiplicity of stakeholder policy directives with overlapping and conflicting objectives, and dispersed monitoring systems.

Fortunately for us, the establishment of SIGA has been key in helping to resolve some of these concerns, even though there is room for more improvement.

An optimal leveraging of state entities to support our nation’s development requires the existence of an institutional framework, which is resilient enough to allow these entities to execute diligently their mandates. Government has initiated various policy reforms and interventions to achieve the key objectives of fostering coherence in the supervision and oversight of SOEs, as well as addressing key constraints hampering their performance.

These policy reform and enhancement measures, as set out in the 2017 State Ownership Report, have been grouped into the following thematic areas:

  1. streamlining government oversight of the SOE sector;
  2. piloting of corporate governance improvements;
  3. government on-lending policy;
  4. credit risk assessment for SOEs; and
  5. rationalising compensation/salary disparities.

The task is, therefore, for you to operate profitably and efficiently, and, by so doing, expand your scope of operations so that you can employ many more people.

I am hopeful that, by the end of each fiscal year, every Specified Entity that has signed this compact with Government, would be able to achieve these objectives. You must also focus on your supply chain activities by involving Ghanaian entrepreneurs to spur the micro, small & medium – scale enterprises (MSME) sector, in order for more and more young people to be employed.

If we can do this continuously for five (5) years, imagine the number of lives we will be impacting. I am encouraged to hear that most of your Entities will be posting profits this year, and happier to learn that some will finally pay dividends to the State. When we gather again in the coming years, God willing, I will be eager to listen to more of your success stories.

Last night, when I spoke to the nation about the COVID-19 situation, I emphasized the need to strengthen our COVID-protocols in our workplaces, in the face of the recent rise in infections. I want to repeat my admonitions, and insist on the imperative of all of us paying strict attention to the adherence to the COVID protocols in our workplaces and elsewhere, if we are to defeat the virus, and sustain the vitality of our economy.

Let me, in conclusion, say that all of us involved in the operations of SIGA should put our ideals and ideas, experience and expertise together, and work as a team. The Ghanaian people expect no less from us, and demand that we put this country onto the path of sustained progress and prosperity.

We should provide leadership that thinks of the next generation, and not just the next election. The challenges exist, but we have great opportunities in the foundation we have laid, too. With your commitment and determination, I believe we will overcome them, and enable this government to establish the structure of the strongest economy in our history. It is a laudable goal, the goal of a Ghana Beyond Aid.

May God bless us all, and our homeland Ghana, and make her great and strong.

I thank you for your attention.

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