… As PAC takes a break on AG report
The lack of capital injection, poor attitude by managers and the collective damage syndrome, “aban dia,” to wit: “It’s for government,” is the bane for the collapse of financial growth of most state enterprises, James Klutse Avedzi, Chairman of Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament, has said.
According to the Ketu North MP and Deputy Minority Leader in Parliament, the seeming unpatriotic attitude towards work at state- owned companies and enterprises by some Ghanaians has contributed substantially to their non-performance, leading to collapse of state companies.
Mr. Avedzi made this observation during an exclusive interview with The Republic, after the two weeks’ hearings of the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament on the Auditor General’s Report 2015 had come to an end yesterday.
The two weeks’ sitting of the committee on the auditor’s report has revealed several financial malfeasance and infractions in some state companies and enterprises.
Most of the state-owned companies, like the Ghana Post Company and the Ghana Publishing Company, popularly known as Assembly Press, are on their respective knees seeking capital to avert imminent collapse.
Officers from the two state institutions appearing before the committee made it simplistic that, the companies have investment potentials to boost the government purse, but virtually lack capital injection.
The Assembly Press, for instance, has the potential of printing quality and affordable print-outs, but the company does not have the requisite capital to purchase modern technological equipment.
The managing director who appeared before the committee to answer questions on the auditor’s report made it point-blank that, though the company enjoys some monopoly in printing of the country’s security documents, including parliament, the financial inadequacy is slowing the company’s performance.
It’s highly competitive in the printing industry, but the MD said, with a little capital push, the Ghana Publishing Company would be able to withstand all high level competitions and print quality work, including election materials.
The Ghana Post Company has similar predicament and management hinted that, plans are far advanced to revamp the company into a more profitable venture, especially in the courier service and other postal business.
Though there is high competition, following the liberation of that sector to the private sector, the management said, nevertheless the company would bounce back on its feet and outwit all private companies in the courier service.
The plight of the Ghana Post started when the electronic mailing system and the latest social media emerged, making the service unattractive, if not time-waste, as far as emailing is concerned.
However, speaking to the Republic, Mr. Avedzi said the work of the committee over the years has yielded some results, judging from the fact that most of the infractions that used to characterise the auditor’s report has reduced.
“Basically, I think our work as a committee is yielding some results, the performance of the committee has led to good performance of most of the institutions and agencies. I am saying this, because most of the things or issues we used to hear are no more in this report that we are sitting on.”
“So generally, I can say we are performing as a country and our managers of the state-owned companies and enterprises are doing quite well, except to say a few of them did not follow laid down procedures in doing things.”
“Some few issues of misallocation of some funds or payment made without approval which are just few administrative deficiencies detected by the auditor’s report and don’t forget we are dealing with human institutions here. You can’t never have a hundred per cent performance as humans, but the zeal and the intent to offer the best is there,” Mr. Avedzi stated.
During the PAC hearing on the auditor generla’s report, it was revealed that, some state institutions withhold taxes meant for government, workers SSNIT contribution not paid, some payment made without supporting documents and others paid without approval by the relevant bodies.
But the Deputy Minority Leader said, all those infractions dide not in any way indict any officer appearing before them as a committee of parliament and that the report and the work of the committee sought to correct and improve on such lapses.
Asked what might have been the cause of the collapse of some state-owned companies that could have fetched much revenue for the state, the PAC Chairman said, the issues leading to collapse of some government ventures are lack of capital to invest and poor attitude or poor management by persons appointed to head such institutions.
In his considered opinion, the attitude of “it is government work, (aban dia)” is not helping and that has been the trend since and it is affecting our productivity and output as a nation.
He told the paper that, if Ghanaians handle state-owned companies, like the way they would handle their private companies, the country could have been at a better position for all of us and government would not be looking elsewhere to source financial support for national developments.
Clearly, our financial bailout of the state-owned companies and industry is not trickling down to the companies that most need investment, like the Ghana Post and the Ghana Publishing Company.
For instance, at the PAC meeting, the Ghana Post hinted that, with proper and adequate capital, it is in position to employ over 1,600 workers nationwide, but its current predicament simply means that such number of potential employees would continue to be idle at home.
Ironically, had it not been the Auditor General’s report, some of the state educational institutions could have lost their ownership to lands they occupied, as they failed to register for titles with the Lands Commission.
The Ghana Institute of Public Administration (GIMPA), the Ghana Post and a few others are said to have been advised by the Auditor General to correct such abnormalities to ensure land belonging top them and acquired through executive instruments are duly registered in their names holding in state for the Republic of Ghana.
All this, Mr Avedzi said, was the hard work of the PAC and therefore dismissed public criticism that the committee’s work does not bring in immediate actions to sanction officers who abuse their offices in the application of state funds.
He argued that the committee is not a fault-finding committee, but to identify and make recommendations, adding that, as a result of the committee’s work some monies belonging to the state but misappropriated are being refunded.
Some of the agencies and companies have had to bring some form receipts to prove payment had been made into the government purse.
He therefore advised that, Ghanaians should take conscious steps to ensure that funds meant for the state are duly paid to avoid any harassment or reportage in the media.
Source: therepublicnewsonline.com/ Felix Engsalige Nyaaba