19.04.2005 Business & Finance

State Enterprises Commission urges SOEs to focus on operations

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Accra, April 19, GNA - Mr Frank Ocran, Executive Chairman of the State Enterprises Commission (SEC), on Tuesday discounted ventures some State Owned Enterprises (SOE) have been undertaking under the pretext of adding value and expansion, saying it was the prerogative of the owner of the SOE, that is Government, to order or commission alternative enterprises.

He said the SEC was closely monitoring the operations of the SOEs and would find out if the investments fell in line with sectoral or Government policies.

"What Government looks forward to is an appreciable return on investments it has made and how these investments meet its objectives, Mr Ocran said in an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA) after the signing of performance contracts with some Ministries, Departments and Agencies in Accra on Tuesday.

He said the Government established enterprises, some of them just to break even and provide employment, "it is therefore wrong for anyone to establish new or alternative enterprises under the pretext of adding value".

The Performance Monitoring and Evaluation (PME) system of the SEC is the situation under which managers of these enterprises are granted full autonomy to operate and ensure efficiency, effectiveness and profitability.

Mr Ocran praised the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority, Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority, Produce Marketing Company, Cocobod and Precious Minerals Marketing Company for their outstanding performance and urged them not to relax.

Mr Ocran asked the companies to add value to their operations and maximize their objectives.

Asked if there were some SOEs not performing, Mr Ocran mentioned the Bonsa Tyre Company, GIHOC Distilleries and the Ghana Water Company, which he said, Government was unable to invest the amount of money required for optimising their operations.

Mr Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, Deputy Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, said the Performance Monitoring and Evaluation (PME) system had introduced improved accountability and transparency in the operations of SOEs, particularly in the production and publication of audited corporate accounts.

He advised those yet to do so to update their accounts and expressed the hope that enterprises signing the performance agreement would meet their obligations to ensure the attainment of reasonable levels of the targets set for them.

The Deputy Minister promised Government's commitment to continue to take the lead in providing the right atmosphere for business to thrive. Mr Agyeman-Manu said the Government had entrusted huge investment in the care of SOEs and expected adequate returns on investments. "Such returns should manifest in the form of dividend payments to Government," he said.

"I trust that the boards of directors will take this into consideration and declare appropriate dividends in line with Government guidelines."

Twenty-eight SOEs and non-SOEs last year contributed more than one trillion cedis to Government under the non-tax revenue budget.

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