Why the State Interests and Governance Authority (SIGA) is a Game Changer (Part I)

“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.”President Akufo-Addo

The President’s comments during the launch of the State Interests and Governance Authority (SIGA) in Augusts 2019, so much reflects the high expectations of the Authority.

In Ghana, new institutions are usually formed by governments in line with policy directions and key governance objectives.  The establishment of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) for example, in 2009 under the Ghana Revenue Authority Act 2009 (Act 791) merged three revenue agencies, Customs, Excise and Preventive Service (CEPS), Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Value Added Tax Service (VATS) and the Revenue Agencies Governing Board (RAGB). Certainly, many Ghanaians commend the merger and agree that the GRA has consistently worked towards its vision of mobilizing revenue for “national development in a transparent, fair, effective and efficient manner”, as its Vision Statement clearly spells out.

This is just one example of the many ways state institutions are transformed through policy to re-align their operations or make them more productive.

This helps us narrow the focus on the State Interests and Governance Authority (SIGA), established in 2019 under the State Interests and Governance Authority Act, 2019 (Act 990) which merged the defunct State Enterprises Commission (SEC) and the Divestiture Implementation Commission (DIC).

The Journey so far

To understand SIGA and its formation, however, we need to trace its formation back to 1965 when it was called the State Enterprise Secretariat (SES), incorporated under a Legislative Instrument (L.I. 47). Its mandate then, was to promote the efficient and profitable operations of statutory corporations engaged in trade and industry within the framework of government policy. Two years down the line in 1967, the Ghana Industrial Holding Corporation (GIHOC) was established and existing state entities, were brought under its umbrella. With the size and magnitude of GIHOC and existing parastatals, the challenges of monitoring and supervision of operations began to affect efficiency, and it became obvious that a more robust institution was needed not just for the purposes of monitoring and general supervision of operations, but also to advise government on appropriate measures to ensure efficient management and profitability within the various state-owned enterprises (SOEs).

The first State Enterprises Commission

The first State Enterprises Commission was established in 1976 under a Supreme Military Council Decree, SMCD 10 following from the challenges GIHOC and existing parastatals faced. Just like the predecessor institution, SEC’s mandate under the SMCD 10 were clearly mapped out:

  1. Supervise the operations of statutory corporations,
  2. Review their objectives
  3. Initiate thorough internal Audit and
  4. Determine the suitability of enterprise management of all corporations.

Between 1976 and 1981, just within five years of the operations of the first State Enterprise Commission, the Government of the 3rd Republic through the enactment of the State Enterprises Commission Act, 1981 (Act 433) replaced the then Commission with a new one, although its functions remained like the old one.  A year later in 1987 PNDC Law 170, was enacted to review the mandate of the State Enterprises Commission. SEC, under the PNDC Law 170, was charged to promote the efficient and profitable operation of the State-owned enterprises (SOEs), utilizing the tools of corporate planning, performance contracting, monitoring, and evaluation. 

What was seen then, as 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 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.  The mission, objectives, structure, and functions of the Commission was then widened to encompass the management of the SOERP and to advise Government on reform priorities and implementation strategies.

In 2000, SEC underwent another restructuring to take on additional responsibilities for performance management in different environments within the public sector. This was under the National Institutional Renewal Programme (NIRP), to reform institutions that constitute the Central Management Agencies (CMAs).

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.

………to be continued [Watch out for Part II]

By: Corporate Affairs Division, SIGA

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