Who committed infractions in Auditor-Generals report-Nana Addo orders DG of SIGA
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has given the Director General of the state Interest and Governance Authority (SIGA) Edward Boateng a one month ultimatum to work together with the Auditor General to find the root cause of the many infractions recorded in the recent Auditor General’s report and identify persons responsible and make the necessary recommendations as prescribed by law and a submit a report to the Chief of Staff for the necessary action.
Addressing Board Chairs of the various State Owned Enterprises at the Jubilee House yesterday, he expressed his disappointment at the numerous infractions stated in the 2021 Auditor-General’s Report which he said demands answers from all the heads of all the specified entities.
“I believe all of you have read the 2021 Auditor General’s report and have seen the numerous infractions stated on the part of the specified entities.
“The report clearly shows an increase in infractions which demands answers from all of you here,” he stated.
President Nana Akufo-Addo noted that although the specified entities were set up with the overarching objective to strengthen the economy and provide the needed jobs, the current trend of affairs in the performance of State Enterprises neither portrays that picture nor reflects positively on the managers of the specified entities nor the 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,” he added.
He emphasized that his appointment of leaders to the various specified entities was with a strong belief that they would ensure a positive change in the narrative of loss making entities and build value for the people of Ghana but said “that has not happened”.
President Nana Akufo-Addo was however confident that the dialogue section which seeks to improve efficiency and productivity within the specified entities would proffer pragmatic solutions to help address the infractions pointed out by the Auditor-General and the 2020 State Ownership Reports.
“I want to see a marked improvement in these reports next year. Things must change,” he added.
The president reminded the heads of the various specified entities that their reputation and honour are at stake if things crumble under their watch and the repercussions stated by law under the SIGA Act and other laws for mismanagement, negligence and outright malfeasance are damaging to ones reputation.
“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 admonished them.
The President tasked the Board Chairs of the specified entities to take stock and identify the reason for their poor performance, and to change the narrative. “I look forward to a better picture when we meet next year by this time”.
President Nana Addo stated further that government will continue to advocate for good corporate governance practices in the various Specified Entities, where boards effectively oversee and direct management.
He stressed that Boards must desist from interfering in day-to-day management of their respective Specified Entities, and making unwarranted demands on their management.
“Board chairs, I entreat you to take seriously the honour bestowed on you to serve the country, contribute to its socio-economic development, and ensure improved performance of your respective Specified Entities.
“In this regard, I want to encourage your entities to trade amongst yourselves, increase production and patronage of domestic products and services. I pledge my full support to SIGA and other oversight institutions to exercise their authority, without any fear or favour,” he added.
The Minister of Public Enterprises, Mr Joseph Cudjoe said the current economic indicators meant that heads of State Owned Enterprises must as a matter of urgency make the right decision that would make their entities profitable to the satisfactory of their shareholders.
He emphasized that anything short of this will mean that private enterprises will have the competitive advantage that will drive state enterprises to a worse performance come December 2022.
“If we do not take the hard decisions at the corporate level by Decembe31 2022, the kind of account we would throw out will even be worse when it comes to profitable operations that we are supposed to achieve and will not be able to contribute to government’s budget,” he said.
Deputy Minister of Finance, Abena Osei-Asare said the meeting was key in reaching a consensus on how to collectively chart a roadmap that would made state Owned enterprises contribute effectively towards economic growth of the country.
She noted that although there is unanimity in external factors which leads to the numerous challenges facing SOEs face , there are some that squarely within the control of leaders of these entities which and requires immediate remedies.
“Issues ranging from tackling managerial efficiencies to innovating new business models to respond to changing market conditions should closely be considered to help drive our SOEs to contribute their expected parts efficiently to support the economy especially in these unique and challenging times that we find ourselves,” he said.
Osei-Asare noted that one of the key elements government’s negotiations with the IMF would be how better government manages or limit the risk associated with SOEs liabilities and thereby reduce government exposure and thus urged heads of the specified entities to formulate strategies that will be enable them reduce debt and other liabilities.
She expressed grave concern about the late submission of audited financial statements as stipulated by law by the SOEs to the ministry of Finance.
She noted that although the public financial management Act 2016 act 921 gives a deadline of end of April each year for the delivery of audited financial statements of SOEs, till date only 30 out of the 176 specified entities have submitted their audited financial statements to government.