State entities show signs of improvement - SIGA boss sparks awakening
In this ever-changing epoch, the prosperity of any institution, be it governmental or corporate, is contingent upon its leadership.
Leaders possess the ability to metamorphose their organisations, ignite ingenuity and engender growth.
For state-owned entities (SOEs), this is of paramount importance as they bear the weighty responsibility of furnishing essential services to people while safeguarding fiscal equilibrium.
In Ghana, several state-owned entities have been grappling with significant financial challenges over the years, with many operating at a loss.
Despite their mandate to stabilise the economy, these entities have struggled to turn a profit, leading to mounting debts and a strain on the economy.
The problem, although a result of a combination of factors, including legacy debts and geopolitical factors affecting several other economies, could also be traced back to leadership.
The State Interests and Governance Authority (SIGA) was established to provide strategic direction and oversight to ensure that state entities adhere to good corporate governance practices to help enhance their contribution to Ghana's economic growth.
Unfortunately, SIGA had been operating in obscurity since its inception until its recent awakening which has helped to improve the efficiency of several state-owned entities, resulting in the modest improvement of their contribution to gross domestic product (GDP).
Under the stewardship of Ambassador Edward Boateng, SIGA has undergone a remarkable transformation and has led strategic initiatives that are inspiring the gradual growth of state entities (SEs).
These impactful initiatives include driving upstate entities' compliance with financial reporting requirements, supervising the preparation of the State Ownership Reports for the last two years and creating a competitive spirit and culture among state entities through the Public Enterprises League Table (PELT) Awards.
Beyond these initiatives, SIGA facilitated a study tour to China for leaders of some SEs, chief executive officers, etc., where they had first-hand access to their counterparts in China, to network and tap into their expertise as China continues to show the way in building wealth with SEs as springboards.
The delegation visited some SOEs under the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of the State Council (SASAC) of China.
They included the China Telecom Corporation Limited (China Telecom), Aluminium Corporation of China (Chinalco), China Habour (CCCC), and China National Agricultural Development Group Co. Ltd (CNADC).
Others were the China National Chemical Engineering Group Corporation (CNCEC), Heavy Equipment Manufacturing Production base, ZPMC, Baosteel Group Corporation (Baosteel) and Shanghai International Port Group (SIPG).
Some key participants of the study tour were the Board Chair of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC), Fredrick Worsemao Blay; the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of GNPC, Opoku-Aweeneh Dankwa; and the CEO of the Ghana Shippers Authority, Benonita Bismarck.
Others were the Board Chair of Ghana Shippers Authority, Stelle Wilson; the General Manager of Bui Power Authority, Jeremiah Addo-Twum; Board Chair of Ghana Grid Company Ltd (GRIDCo), Kabral Blay Amihere; Board Member of Bui Power Authority, Rebecca Acquaah Arhin; Deputy MD of Bulk Oil Transport and Storage (BOST), Moses Asem; and the Deputy CEO of National Lottery Authority (NLA), Horma Miezah.
The Deputy CEO of the Minerals Commission, Shirley Kyei; the Chief Director of the Public Enterprises Secretariat, Christine Edmunds; the Director of Legal and Monitoring of Water Resources Commission, Bernadette Adjei; Board Member of SIGA, Kow Essuman; and Board Member of SIGA, Franklin Asafo Adjei, were also part of the delegation.
Since he was appointed Director General of SIGA in 2021, Ambassador Boateng has implemented measures to improve efficiency, recruiting qualified professionals to steer the operations of the Authority, which has made SIGA attractive to not just qualified professionals but to some of the best brains that graduate from the various universities in the country each year.
This deliberate positioning of SIGA has had an overreaching impact on the transparency and accountability in the management of state entities.
One of the most significant achievements of Ambassador Boateng's leadership is the digitisation of SIGA's operations.
By automating processes, he has reduced bureaucracy and eliminated human errors, making it easier for businesses to interact with SIGA.
He has also introduced measures that ensure that these entities operate with a sense of duty.
Ambassador Boateng has also championed effective asset management by SEs, recognising that it is critical to maximising the value of SOEs. He has developed a comprehensive asset management framework for some entities, including inventory management, maintenance scheduling, and disposal procedures.
With Ambassador Boateng's leadership, the contribution of SEs to gross domestic product (GDP) has increased from GH¢10 billion in 2020 to GH¢58.27 billion in 2022. The total assets of SEs captured in the consolidated National Account have also increased from GH¢51.8 billion in 2020 to GH¢419.2 billion in 2022.
Effective partnerships between SIGA and other supervisory organisations, such as the Auditor General, Internal Audit Agency, and the Controller and Accountant General, among others, have also significantly contributed to the improvement of SEs over the last two years, despite the present economic challenges.
For instance, the number of entities whose data was consolidated into the National Accounts has increased from 19 in 2020 to an impressive 62 entities in 2022, helping to increase SEs’ contribution to GDP within the period.
Ambassador Boateng's vision and unwavering commitment to excellence have transformed SIGA into a key player in Ghana's economic development.
His leadership has not only improved the efficiency and transparency of SIGA's operations but also contributed significantly to the growth of State Enterprises in Ghana.
With the ongoing collaboration between SIGA and stakeholders, state-owned enterprises will continue to improve their fortunes and position themselves as the bedrock of Ghana's economic recovery.