Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia on Tuesday said the Government is implementing policies that would revitalise the State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs) to contribute significantly towards economic transformation to ensure prosperity for all.
To this end, he said, the State Enterprises Commission and selected SOEs were benefiting from a World Bank Technical Assistant Programme focused on consolidating the state ownership role in those enterprises into a single entity, improving performance and ensuring effective and efficient service delivery.
Vice President Bawumia said there would be development of key policies for the sectors within which the SOEs operated including ownership, board nominations and financing.
He said the Government would list some SOEs onto the Ghana Stock Exchange and convert others into limited liability companies.
Vice President Bawumia said this at the opening of a two-day SOE Policy and Governance Forum in Accra to discuss challenges bedevilling them and give ideas and suggestions that would enable them to deliver on their mandate.
The forum brought together chief executive officers of the SOEs, regulators, multinational partners, professionals from academia and civil society organisations.
The Vice President said SOEs had been, and continued to be, the heart of the production and delivery of major public infrastructure and services, including electricity, potable water and petroleum products.
“Central to making Ghana the most business-friendly economy in Africa is a private sector working hand-in-hand with an efficiently-run and capable public sector enterprise.
“As the quasi-commercial arm of the State, the role of SOEs in helping achieve the objective of job-creation Public Private Partnerships is pivotal as they extend to all critical sectors of the economy, including energy and power, petroleum, trade, agriculture, manufacturing, housing, railways and aviation,” he said.
Vice President Bawumia said the experiences of other countries showed that efficiently managed SOEs served as catalysts for development, while some mobilised capital for investment in other sectors of the economy and managed natural resources.
“There is, therefore, an expectation that SOEs will be significant partners in Ghana’s economic development for the foreseeable future,” he said.
The Vice President, therefore, charged SOEs to justify continued government support and investments, especially for those that were not making sufficient profit.
Mr Ken Ofori-Atta, the Minister of Finance, in his welcome address, said it was part of the Government’s broader efforts to improve the governance environment and engender high levels of transparency and accountability for the SOEs.
He said the forum was intended to sensitise key stakeholders on government’s strategy and initiatives for the SOEs as well as provide a platform for them to discuss critical developments and other issues of concern.
The Minister expressed the belief that feedback from the forum would not only be persuasive, but would also contribute significantly to the further refinement and effective implementation of the SOE reforms and strategies.
As a result of privatisation, liquidation and dwindling SOEs, the number of SOEs had reduced from 300 in the mid1980s to 86 as at the end of August 2017.
They consist of 46 wholly government owned and 40 joint ventures, 37 of the wholly government owned are commercial companies, with 26 operating as limited liability companies under the Companies Act and 11 being statutory corporations.
Statistics from the State Enterprises Commission indicate that 28 of the SOEs employed a total of 32,500 workers and generated a total revenue of GH¢16.2 billion.