SIGA Collaborates with Oversight Institutions in Enhancing Supervision and Reporting for Specified Entities
The State Interests and Governance Authority (SIGA) has convened two meetings, in collaboration with the Public Enterprises Secretariat (PES) and some oversight institutions.
The institutions included the Internal Audit Agency (IAA), the Public Services Commission (PSC), the Controller and Accountant General’s Department (CAGD), the Public Procurement Authority (PPA), the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission (FWSC) and the Ghana Audit Service (GAS).
The first meeting with the CEOs was geared towards enhancing internal controls and performance in the SEs. Dr. Eric Oduro Osae, the Director General of Internal Audit Agency, made a presentation on the topic: Streamlining Internal Control Processes for Effective Governance and Productivity. In his presentation Dr. Osae advised all CEOs and Heads of Entities to collaborate closely with internal auditors for their advisory and quality assurance services. He encouraged the Heads to actively participate in audit committee meetings, carefully review recommendations made by internal auditors, and quality assure every response given to the queries.
Follow up discussions with the CEOs centred on enhancing internal controls, fostering robust corporate governance, quality assurance and ensuring compliance with relevant laws and regulations, in order to avoid related sanctions such as fines and imprisonment, in some cases. The Heads were therefore encouraged to continuously engage and enhance their capacities relating to their roles and provisions of relevant laws and regulations, be meticulous and productive.
The second meeting of just the Oversight Institutions was aimed at deliberating and seeking solutions to issues of conflict and overlap within their respective oversight responsibilities relating to the Specified Entities (SEs), and to reach consensus on pragmatic solutions to enhance efficiency in their operations, as well as the performance, compliance and reporting of the SEs.
The meeting serves as a sequel to the inaugural meeting convened in March 2022 among oversight bodies, aimed at enhancing coordination. This initiative yielded favourable outcomes from the SEs, resulting in a notable increase in the submission of audited financial accounts by 62 entities in 2022, an improvement on the submissions made by 49 entities in 2021.
In his opening remarks, Ambassador Edward Boateng, Director-General of SIGA thanked the various oversight institutions for the good collaboration and stated that he was looking forward to a more positive response this year. He said, “Our commitment to convening today underlines our steadfast dedication to the success of Specified Entities. With these collaborative efforts, we will attain optimal efficiency and transparency in our Specified Entities. I extend my heartfelt thanks to Hon. Joseph Cudjoe and all distinguished heads present for your dedication to this noble cause.”
Hon. Joseph Cudjoe, the Minister of Public Enterprises, on his part highlighted significant progress in the submission of audited financials by Specified Entities (SEs). “This progress is indicative of a growing commitment to transparency and accountability within the Specified Entity sector and is quite commendable”. He urged all participants to demonstrate a high level of commitment in translating the recommendations of the meeting into actionable steps, aiming to enhance efficiency in Specified Entities and work of the Oversight institutions.
Besides the heavy toll and man-hours that several reporting requirements are having on the productive time of the SEs, discussions of the meeting also highlighted the following: constitutional challenges relating to appointment of Boards and CEOs vis-à-vis requirements under the Companies Act and best practices; over-lapping roles of some oversight bodies; the enormous task of overseeing over 1,000 institutions; use and interpretation of various terminologies in different laws such as Public Sector Organisations’, ‘Covered Entities’ and ‘Specified entities’; and challenges relating to conflicting laws and policies.
The meeting resolved to: (i) organise a retreat to undertake a more in-depth discussion on these matters and reflect on what we, as a country, really need and aspire to achieve regarding the efficiency and profitability of the public institutions and Specified Entities, where applicable; and (ii) develop and submit a memo to the Executive and Parliament. These will be pursued under the leadership of the Minister for Public Enterprises, Hon. Joseph Cudjoe (MP).