National Policy Summit opens in Takoradi

BY: Dotsey Koblah Aklorbortu
 Mrs Cecilia Abena Dapaah addressing participants in the Policy Summit
Mrs Cecilia Abena Dapaah addressing participants in the Policy Summit

The government has assured Ghanaians that state-owned enterprises (SOEs) will return to their glorious days to contribute and lead social and economic development through prudent management.

Speaking at the opening session of the 5th National Policy Summit, the Minister of Sanitation and Water Resources, Mrs Cecilia Abena Dapaah, said it was sad that state-owned enterprises had, in the past, been perceived to be mismanaged or  become ‘white elephants’ or  defunct.

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She said governments in the past had lost huge sums accruing from those enterprises due largely to the perception that theirs was government work.

She said the invitation to the SOEs to the summit by the Information Ministry was timely and right.

Mrs Dapaah said that selected SOEs would use the summit to project their image and help disabuse the thinking that derailed the efforts of those entities.


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 Presidential vision

“As a Minister of State, I need to clearly analyse my President’s vision and determine what role to play in support of the vision. I wholeheartedly trust that the engagement of about eight SOEs in this summit will go a long way to project the image that it will work,” she said.

SOEs such as the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC), the Accra Digital Centre (ADC), the State Housing Company (SHC), the Ghana Free Zones Board (GFZB), MASLOC, the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA), the National Entrepreneurship and Innovation Plan (NEIP), the Committee on Illegal Mining, among other entities, she said, were doing well, saying: “It is envisioned that the summit will yield positive results after brainstorming by astute, enterprising and well-meaning Ghanaians.”

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Rich GNPC

The minister indicated that an SOE such as the GNPC remained one of the country’s high-income-earning state agencies responsible for the exploration and distribution of petroleum-related activities in the country.

Through strategic and prudent management, she said “it has attracted vast investments into the country and is, therefore, expected to cushion the economy fiscally”.

In the area of housing, the minister said “we are all aware of the housing challenges facing the nation, especially in the urban centres, largely due to the increasing population of Ghana, which is currently close to 29 million”.

Bridging the gap

For his part, the Chief Executive Officer of the State Enterprises Commission, Mr Stephen Asamoah-Boateng, outlined some major strides that some state-owned enterprises had made.

A lot of progress

“I must say that there is a lot of work going on and through channels such as this we will let the public know about the strides so far,” he said.

He commended the Ministry of Information for putting the summit together and for the collaboration between it and other relevant stakeholders.

The Minister of Information, Mr Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, assured the gathering that the summit would remain a major flagship programme of the ministry through public-private initiatives.

The summit, he said, was designed to bring together policy makers and business leaders to explore mutually beneficial ways of achieving the nation’s objectives.

The objectives of the summit, he said, were to ensure the promotion of social accountability in public policy cycle and mainstream development communication across the public sector and improve transparency and public access to information.

The sessions

There were eight engaging sessions which focused on making the best of Ghana’s oil, supporting digital innovation and entrepreneurship, bridging the housing deficit and the role of the Free Zones in boosting export.

Another session looked at the role of credit in boosting small-scale businesses, while the FDA looked at a healthy nation through the lenses of safeguarding the health of consumers.

There were also contributions from chiefs and people from the Western Region and corporate entities to enrich the discussions.