A Professor of Political Science at the University of Ghana, Professor Ransford Edward Gyampo has reteirated the need to employ competent people with technical know-how to manage State Own Enterprises (SOEs), instead of appointing footsoldiers without any proper qualification to handle such state enterprises in the country.
Prof. Gyampo revealed that, such state enterprises are always giving out as a way of rewarding party supporters who in one way or the other, have contributed immensely to the party’s agend or, people who insult most.
“This unacceptable considerations form basis for selection”
State Own Enterprises he mentioned, were expected to positively impact the economic growth but currently is an abtorsh on Ghana with numerous debts they mentioning Cocobod as an example of SOE that are making losses.
Prof. Gyampo made this statement when speaking at a public lecture organized by the United Voices for Change, a civil society organization (COS)
on the theme, “Governance and Performance of State Own Enterprises in Ghana held in Accra”.
He averred that, upon all the losses being made at Cocobod, people are still seating there receiving huge sums of bonuses. “You see what is wrong with us. What I know is that, companies and public corporations would be given bonuses at a time when you are making profit. Now look at us, see what is happening at GNPC. This SOEs now exit merely as a name. They exist as avenue where people are placed to earn monthly salaries. And now, their existence are rather a drain on the coffers and the resources of the nation”.
In terms of Governance of the SOEs, he questioned the appointments and the composition of the Boards which essentially, is subject to excessive partisan politics leading to appointments and placement of square pegs in round holes.
Prof. Gyampo calls for a paradigm shift in the appointment of CEOs. ” there would be no productivity and profitability If you appoint someone who’s only qualification is his ability to insult at a faster rate during an election campaign.
Also what benefit will the state derive If you appoint someone as CEO of SOEs with the only consideration as someone who served as a helper to the appointing Authority, “a boye boye” . Equally If you appoint a CEO because he campaign a lot during election or, provide funding to secure victory.
He reteirated that, Governance of a developing country like Ghana, is too serious a business to be left into the hands of just anybody. “We can’t get it. Our leaders have traveled enough but failed to use the opportunity to learn best practices.
The ‘Travel and See’ adage, which i didn’t understand until I grew up is meant to inspire us to learn or adopt practices from other areas for development but our leaders are non receptive to learning.
Prof. Gyampo disclosed that, sometimes people are even appointed to a Board and they complained that it is not a juicy place for them which he said, is a clear indication that the composition of Boards are seen as a means to reward the people who are loyal to a regime.
Prof. Ransford Gyampo revealed further that, due to the above mentioning, when board members sat at a board meeting, rather than providing expertise advice and information as to how the SOEs can run effectively into profit, they seat and then eye the resources or the seating allowance.
“So, some actually go and multiply the number of times that they can be meeting. People actually beg for board meetings. They called for a meeting simply because of the allowances that they are going to be getting”.
This he indicated is bleeding and suffocating SOEs for few individuals selfless.
He noted that, lack of proper oversight is also a challenge to SOEs performance and therefore adherence to good corporate Governance critical for SOEs.
There is a need for the state to directly participate in commercial businesses regardless of regimes in power and their seeming ideological differences, by establishing state enterprises.
According to Prof. Gyampo, there are certain areas that if you allow private sector to operate, they would not be able to do well because, they wouldn’t find the needed resources to go there and the government have to consider areas like the mining sector, water, energy, Ict infrastructure.
The justification for the set up of SOEs he indicated are that, the private sector may not be able to venture into certain areas because they required huge sums of money and so governments comes in to set up and regulate.
Again, SOEs are set up to generate employment, cater for areas that may not be attractive to the private but are very essential.
He further added that, SOEs are set up to render essential services that may be too expensive when placed in the hands of the private business entrepreneur. “If you leave the production of water entirely into the hands of the private person. Water is essential to human living in and so, if you privatize it completely, then people would be drinking water tot-tot instead of making sure that they drink enough to flush their systems of toxic”.
SOEs he said, are sometimes set up to also grant a certain commanding control of the hight of the economy added that, they are set up not to be run at a profit but to be able to be run and makes some profits or breake even so that, they can justify the reason why government would continue to invest huge sums of money in them.