President Akufo-Addo is not happy with the numerous infractions revealed in the 2021 Auditor-General’s report on State-Owned Enterprises (SoEs).
He, therefore, summoned the chairpersons of the boards of the specified entities to the Jubilee House yesterday, to register his displeasure and charged them to change the narrative next year.
The 2021 findings by the A-G show various irregularities in public institutions that have denied the state unimaginable amounts of money, a development the citizens are not happy about.
President Akufo-Addo noted that the report clearly shows an increase in infractions, which demands “answers from all of you here.”
He reminded them that the Specified Entities have been set up to promote public economic activities and contribute to our GDP, amongst others.
He, however, remarked that “the current trend of affairs neither portrays that picture nor reflects positively on the managers of our Specified Entities, oversight institutions and the government itself.
“It is a clear indication of poor supervision and management, as well as poor enforcement of implementation and sanctions of the needed measures. I appointed you as leaders of these specified entities with the strong belief that you would ensure a positive change in the narrative of loss-making entities and build value for the people of Ghana. That has not happened, so I expect more from you,” he charged.
REPORT IN 4 WEEKS
After he reminded them of the need to change the narrative, President Akufo-Addo followed up with a directive to the Director-General of SIGA and the Auditor General.
They are to drill down to the causes of the infractions, identify the persons responsible, make the necessary recommendations as prescribed by law, and submit a report to the Chief of Staff in four weeks from yesterday.
President Akufo-Addo further reminded them of the challenging period of the nation, a development he observed often triggers citizens to eagerly apportion blame.
He bluntly told them that their hard-earned reputation and honour were at stake if things crumbled under their watch.
Aside from that, there are also serious sanctions in the SIGA Act and other laws for mismanagement, negligence and outright malfeasance.
“We are not in normal times and people are eager to blame somebody; let us not make it easy for people to blame us. We can defend and be excused for what is humanly beyond our control; but for those that fall under our purview of responsibility and capacity, let us do our best,” he asserted.
He had called the meeting to get to know from the board chairs and what they believe to be the causes, and for all of them to agree on solutions to address these infractions.
“I want to see a marked improvement in these reports next year. Things must change,” he added.
The President further asked the Board Chairs to ponder over why SoEs or specified entities are not faring well in the same sectors in which their private sector counterparts are thriving and making a profit.
The Board Chairmen on their part appealed to the government to have a look at the legacy debt owed by some SoEs, as it has affected the financial stability of those entities.
The Spokesperson for the Boards of SoEs, Isaac Osei, made the appeal to the President when addressing the meeting.
On his part, the Director General of SIGA assured the President that his outfit will work with the various boards to ensure such infractions are reduced.
However, Mr. Ben Arthur, the Chief Executive of the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission, bemoaned the payment of huge bonuses by some boards of SoEs without payment of dividends, urging that this must stop.
A Deputy Finance Minister, Abena Osei Asare acknowledged the importance of SoEs but added that it was unfortunately difficult to leverage SoEs to contribute to economic growth.
She was hopeful the involvement of the President would help salvage the situation.