HISTORY OF SIGA
The beginning of what is now the State Interests and Governance Authority, SIGA is traceable to the State Enterprise Secretariat (SES), which was incorporated in 1965 under a Legislative Instrument (L.I. 47).
The core mandate of the State Enterprise Secretariat was to promote within the framework of Government policy, the efficient and profitable operations of Statutory Corporations engaged in trade and industry. In 1967, the Ghana Industrial Holding Corporation (GIHOC) was established, and the existing parastatals (government agencies) were brought under its umbrella.
There came a need to create a monitoring outfit to exercise general supervision of operations with the view of advising Government on appropriate measures to take in order to ensure efficient management and profitability within the various SOE sectors.
The first State Enterprises Commission was established by the Supreme Military Council Decree 10 (SMCD 10) in the year 1976 to supervise the operations of statutory corporations, review their objectives, initiate thorough management audit and determine the suitability of enterprise management of all the corporations.
The Government of the third (3rd) Republic through the enactment of the State Enterprises Commission Act, 1981 (Act 433) replaced the then Commission with a new one. The functions of this Commission were, however, similar to those of its predecessor.
The just defunct State Enterprises Commission (SEC) was established in 1987 under PNDC Law 170. Under the law, the Commission was charged to promote efficient and profitable operation of the SOEs, utilizing the tools of corporate planning, performance contracting, monitoring and evaluation.
The rebirth of the State Enterprise Commission (SEC) could be attributed to the institutional reforms by the introduction of the then Government’s Economic Recovery Programme (ERP) in the year 1983. It was under the SOE Reform Programme (SOERP), one of the components of the ERP, that PNDC Law 170 was promulgated as part of the restructuring of SEC.
Since then, the mission, objectives, structure and functions of the Commission had been widened to encompass the management of the SOERP and to advise Government on reform priorities and implementation strategies.
Under the programme by the National Institutional Renewal Programme (NIRP), to reform institutions that constitute the Central Management Agencies (CMAs), which commenced in the year 2000, SEC underwent another restructuring to take on additional responsibilities for performance management in different environments within the public sector. Under this restructuring, subvented organizations that were to be transformed into commercial entities were to be added to the SOEs that were under the purview of the Commission. This was given legal backing through the enactment of the Subvented Agencies Act (Act 706) of 2006.
Successive governments and Donor Agencies recognized SEC’s expertise in organizational restructuring, Corporate Planning, Performance Management, Capacity Building and Corporate Governance, among others. They continued to tap into SEC’s growing expertise in all these disciplines.
In summary, the Commission’s role, over the years, had been, and continued to be advisory, limited to corporate planning, performance management, governance and consultancy services to both Government and other Prescribed Bodies.
That notwithstanding, the impact on the SOEs remained unimpressive and also below expectation, and this had corresponding effect on the SOEs performance. Many of the commercial SOEs were recording huge loses.
However, there were major known bottlenecks that were affecting both the performance of the State Enterprise Commission (SEC) itself and the State-owned Enterprises (SOEs). In view of persistent underperformance of SOEs, the World Bank with the support of Government, carried out an assessment of the corporate governance framework of the various SOEs from the year 2013 to the year 2015. The objective was to identify, among others, challenges posed by the existing governance, and oversight arrangements on the performance of SOEs. The assessment concluded that the following fundamental problems in the governance of the SOEs were key factors undermining their performance:
- The fragmented and uncoordinated oversight of SOEs by multiple Government organizations;
- The lack of a clearly defined ownership framework;
- Poor governance practices at the SOE level; and
- The obsolete enabling Act, and capacity constraints of the defunct State Enterprises Commission (SEC) which have not facilitated effective oversight of Government investments.
From these findings, it was recommended that Government should streamline and centralize oversight and management of SOEs as a means to improve their governance and performance. Similar corporate governance reviews carried out on selected financial and economic regulators also recommended that Government develops and implements a formal accountability framework and strengthen corporate governance in these state entities particularly in the areas of transparency and accountability.
Based on the recommendations of the Corporate Governance Assessments, the Government in its 2017 Budget and Economic Policy Statement, committed to establish a Single Entity to oversee the various SOEs. A Task Force was then set up and tasked to develop the concept of the Single Entity, which was approved by the Economic Management Team (EMT) in October 2017.
Consequently, the team, led by the Ministry of Finance, developed a draft bill for the establishment of the Single Entity.
Parliament passed the Bill into Law (Act 990) in April 2019 and the President of the Republic assented to it in June 2019 which gave birth to what is now the State Interests and Governance Authority (SIGA), and this was launched by the President on the 19th of August, 2019.
The SIGA Law came with a lot of expectations from all walks of life to comprehensively deal with both its internal constraints and the challenges of the entities under its umbrella in order to ensure the success of the sector. These expectations were succinctly captured by the President during the launch as can be found below:
“SIGA is a new institution and my expectation is that you would help develop a new culture, and should not be bounded by the old culture and practices of its predecessors. It is a general agreement that these old institutions did not work in the interest of our people and our country, and that is the reason why a new authority has been brought into being. So, the attitude must be new king, new law; a new authority, a new culture; a culture of accountable governance and of respecting the norms; sensibilities and practice of good corporate governance not only amongst yourself but also the institutions that report to you.”—His Excellency Nana Addo-Dankwah Akufo-Addo.
SIGA seeks to facilitate performance management in SOEs and other prescribed bodies, within the framework of Government policy, to ensure that they operate efficiently, effectively and profitably thereby contributing towards the socio-economic development of Ghana.