14 August 2018

Ghana: 27 Defunct SOE's Still On Nation's Books - Auditor General's Report

A DEPUTY Minister of Finance, Mrs Abena Osei-Asare, has indicated that moves were underway to clear defunct State Owned Enterprises (SOEs) off government's books.

Mrs Osei-Asare, MP, Atiwa East, said that in this vein, government, through the Ministry of Finance will soon present to Parliament an audited report of the SOEs as part of the approval processes needed to write them off.

Appearing before Parliament's Public Accounts Committee (PAC) in Accra yesterday to answer questions on the 2016 Auditor General's report on Consolidated Funds, she revealed that the Finance Ministry had secured the services of England based accounting firm, Deloitte and Touche, to audit and find out the values of the defunct companies and also study their equity stakes.

"We have received the consultant's report and we will review it. The Ministry of Finance will come to Parliament to seek approval to clear these defunct companies and also reduce loan balances they have with government" she told the James Klutse Avedzi-chaired committee.

Per the 2016 Auditor General's report, sighted by the Ghanaian Times, 27 erstwhile SOEs and Joint Venture companies which were divested or officially liquidated have been included in the Investment of the state as at December 31, 2016.

The companies are the National Savings and Credit Bank, Ashanti Cocoa Project, State Construction Corporation, State Fishing Corporation, New India Assurance, Zenith Assurance, Ghana Livestock Company, Ejura Farms and Bridatrust International.

Others are Oppong Mansi Integrated Iron and Steel, Ghana Industrial Holding Corporation, State Hotels Corporation, Rural Banks, Ghana National Trading Corporation, Bakeley Steel Ltd, Kumasi Brewery, Home Finance Company and Ghana International Airways.

The rest are the Bonsa Tyre Company, Ghana Tobacco Company, Ghana Bottling Company, West Africa Mills, Crystal Oil Mills, Neoplan Ghana Limited, Ghana Cargo Handling, Ghana Merchant Company and Ghana Sugar Estate.

According to the report, Public Debt and Investment (PDI) and Public Investment Divisions of the Ministry of Finance and the Controller and Accountant Generals Department (CAGD) respectively compiled the statements making up Governments' Investments which forms part of the financial assets in the Consolidated Fund.

The report added that sampled review of 35 transactions disclosed that investments in four SOEs and three other companies, partly owned by the Government of Ghana, were omitted from the investment schedule.

It said some of these institutions have been making payment of surpluses and dividends to government and have been duly captured in the Dividend Registers of PDI and Non Tax Revenue (NTR), but their corresponding investments have not been captured in the ledger for disclosure in the financial statements.

Among the companies that were undisclosed under government's investments are the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority, National Lotteries Authority, Ghana Cylinder Manufacturing Company and Juapong Textiles.

Three other investments - Twifo Oil Palm Plantation, GIHOC Pharmaceuticals and Ghana Textiles companies - under joint venture, the report noted were also unaccounted for.

Songor Salt Project and Saltpond Oil, the report indicated, were also omitted in both the register and financial statement.

"I also observed that GoG ownership in Songor Salt Project (100%) and Saltpond Oil(45%) were not accounted for as part of GoG Investment, thus obscuring information on the extent of GoG control in the entities" the report stated.


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