Fitch Rating agency has projected Ghana to be the fastest growing economy in Sub Saharan Africa as it emerges strongly from the COVID-19 pandemic, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has noted.
The agency also projects that the economy will be restored to its previous position before the onset of the pandemic.
Last year, in the midst of global recession, Ghana’s economy and a few others in the world recorded positive growth in Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
This buttressed the findings of the Ghana Statistical Services that the first quarter of 2021 witnessed a GDP growth 3.1 per cent.
President Akufo-Addo announced this in Accra yesterday at the Performance Contract Signing ceremony for state-owned enterprises (SOEs), joint venture companies (JVCs) and other state entities under the patronage of the State Interest and Governance Authority (SIGA).
In all, 71 organisations, including the Graphic Communications Group Limited, signed the pact to meet certain performance indicators.
The event was themed: “Driving the Implementation of Performance Enhancement Measures in SOEs, JVCs and Other State Entities.”
The various chief executives of the SOEs, their sector ministers, the Minister of Public Enterprise, Mr Joseph Cudjoe, and the Director-General of SIGA, Mr Stephen Asamoah-Boateng, signed the performance agreements.
President Akufo-Addo noted that as the country pursued the Ghana Beyond Aid agenda, it was critical that SOEs worked efficiently to contribute positively towards the attainment of the dream.
He explained that prior to the onset of COVID-19, the government instituted a number of policies and programmes that promoted a business-friendly environment attracting investments, creating jobs and growing the economy as well as enhancing the living standards of the people.
He said 16 months later, the achievements had been eroded by COVID-19 but there were positive signs of recovery emerging from many parts of the world, with some countries facing dire condition.
President Akufo-Addo stated that in Ghana’s case, the country had been placed firmly back on the path of recovery because it had witnessed credible assessment all through the grace of God and hard work.
Tracing the historical antecedent of SOEs, he said Ghana had difficulty fashioning out a comprehensive strategic approach to managing the sector which was riddled with conflicting objectives, dispersed monitoring systems, lack of transparency and weak lines of accountability.
The President said when he assumed office in 2017, he put in measures to deal with the challenges it inherited which included legacy debts, low working capital, weak corporate governance structures, multiplicity of stakeholder policy directives, with overlapping and conflicting objectives and dispersed monitoring objectives.
He noted that the establishment of SIGA had helped in addressing some of the concerns so that those enterprises could support the development of the nation.
President Akufo-Addo explained that the government had instituted measures to achieve the key objective of achieving coherence in the supervision of the enterprises and addressing key constraints hampering their growth.
The measures, he said, included streamlining government oversight, corporate governance improvements, government on lending policy, credits risk assessment and rationalising compensation and salary disparity.
He indicated that their task was to operate profitably and efficiently and be able to expand to be able to employ more people.
President Akufo-Addo expressed the hope that by the end of each fiscal year, entities that had signed the compact would attain their objectives and continue to focus on their activities by involving Ghanaian entrepreneurs to spur the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) sector for more young people to be employed.
“If we can do this continuously for five years, imagine the number of lives you will be impacting,” the President indicated, and said he was encouraged by the number of SOEs that would post profits this year as some would finally pay dividends to the state.
President Akufo-Addo reiterated the need to strictly adhere to the COVID-19 prevention protocol at workplaces in the face of the recent rise in cases of the virus to help defeat the pandemic and sustain the vitality of the economy.
The Minister of Finance, Mr Ken Ofori-Atta, urged the SOEs to pursue aggressive transparency and accountability and be responsible custodians.
He added that public enterprises were not vehicles for enriching the minority, but they were intended to help the state to provide quality opportunities and present the citizens with opportunity to shape their own lives.
Mr Ofori-Atta urged the SOEs to align their goals with the GH¢100 billion Ghana CARES Obantanpa programme and be significant partners in the economic transformation of the country as an industrialised regional hub.
The Finance Minister said the value of state enterprises was estimated at GH¢110 billion, which represented approximately 27 per cent of the country’s GDP, and noted that it was in the national interest to ensure that the entities were managed prudently.
The Public Enterprise Minister, Mr Cudjoe, said he shared in the commitment of the President to ensure that SOEs were managed efficiently and effectively to be able to support the government in discharging its duty to the people of Ghana.
“Mr President, you are solving a 64-year-old problem by appointing in the country for the first time a Minister responsible for Public Enterprises as well as the establishment of a State Interest and Governance Authority,” he stated.