Plans have been developed to enlist some state-owned enterprises under the State Interests and Governance Authority (SIGA) on the Ghana Stock Exchange (GSE), Stephen Asamoah-Boateng, director general of SIGA, has said.
Asamoah Boateng said the move is intended to create wealth for all Ghanaians and also to have a say because they can now own shares in the state-owned enterprises (SOEs) that will be listed on the stock market.
He said SIGA has begun deliberations with the GSE and has notified them of its intention to offload some of the state-owned enterprises.
Asamoah Boateng said the decision is in line with the governing New Patriotic Party’s policy of building and wealth creation under a private sector-led economic development.
He said the NPP recognises the special role of Ghanaian private businessmen and women. He stated that even though the state may get involved in creating businesses, its involvement will not be one that pushes the private sector out of business.
SOEs not dead
Asamoah Boateng said the assertion that the only time state-owned enterprises are sold off is when they are not performing is wrong, explaining that the notion is contrary to the thoughts he and his team at SIGA hold.
He said, there are some state institutions that may be making a profit, and it is important that the authority builds wealth in the Ghanaian society as well. Making shares of such enterprises available for Ghanaians to purchase and partake in the profits, thereof, is the sure way to prosperity for all.
“There is a misconception that it is only those SOEs which are not performing that you must sell-off. I have a different belief and my team shares that belief with me.
“We also need to build wealth in the Ghanaian community, so you may have a state enterprise which is performing well and making money; why can’t you let the Ghanaian participate and buy shares through the stock market so that people can also own shares? That is the beauty of what SIGA is coming up with,” he said.
He added: “We’ve designed a position within our structure called Investment and Wealth Creation. So we are talking to the Ghana Stock Exchange that we might be ready to offload some of them through the stock market. Ghanaians will then go and buy and make money.”
Asamoah Boateng said SIGA, with the approval of cabinet, will classify state-owned businesses under its wing into various categories based on capitalisation, efficient and effective management that may be required to ensure maximum profitability.
“My team has been working very hard on a strategic policy which would have to be approved by cabinet at some point. There are 103 state institutions some of which are non-operational and we can’t manage all of them so the policy will classify all these entities strategically, based on their performance.
“There will be one classification on the institutions that the government must fully own (100%). For example, we can say maybe a company like ECG or Ghana Water (Company) must be fully owned by the government or move it to the second category, which is to invite private sector participation on a management contract basis or to dilute our shares to get private participation to help recapitalise them.”
Asamoah-Boateng said the private sector brings a lot of expertise, capital and discipline to the work environment. “Those of us operating in the public sector need to collaborate with the private sector in a win-win situation.”