Juicy SOEs Given Out For Free


Since the divestiture of the Ghana Consolidated Diamonds Company at Akwatia in the Eastern Region, the government has been able to collect only $3.2 million of the total purchase price of $17 million bought by Zoomlion Group.

The Minister of Finance, Seth Terkper, made the disclosure in parliament yesterday. It was in response to a question by the New Patriotic Party (NPP) Member of Parliament (MP) for Akuapim South, O.B. Amoah.

The minister said the Board of the Divestiture Implementation Committee (DIC) had directed the DIC secretariat to present recovery plans for all outstanding amounts in respect of state-owned companies sold to individuals or joint ventures since 2009.

The MP for Akuapim South had requested the minister to tell the House the number of state-owned enterprises divested under the current government from 2009 and also to provide details of such transactions.

The minister of finance said five companies, including Ghana Consolidated Diamonds Company (GCD), Tema Printing Press, GIHOC Footwear Company Ltd in Kumasi, GAMA Film Company Ltd and Subri Industrial Plantation Limited at Subriso in the Western Region; and out of the total amount of $36.7 million, only $10.9 million had been recovered by the DIC so far.

He said the Tema Printing Press was sold for $3 million in 2009 and only $1.1 million had been recovered; Subri Industrial Plantation was sold for $10 million in 2012 and $5 million has been recovered so far; GIHOC Footwear Company went for $700,000 in 2012 but only $70,000 has been recovered while only $1.6 million had so far been recovered from the sale of GAMA Film Company which was purchased at $6 million in 2013.

Mr O.B. Amoah who asked the question, was not happy at the slow rate of recovery of monies for the state, stressing that credible information from the Auditor-General’s reports as well as the Public Accounts reports for 2011, 2012 and 2013 had shown that more monies from the sale of these companies had been paid but had not reflected in the Consolidated Fund – which he noted is against the Financial Administration Act.

The minister of finance admitted that some monies had been paid but were sitting in the Special Account at the Bank of Ghana because of some sort of legal tussle over some of the transactions, which he said were pending at the Appeals Court, ‘so after the determination of the appeal, the monies would be lodged into the Consolidated Fund.’

Mr Terkper said the government would seek the advice of the Attorney- General and Minister of Justice as to what steps the government could take to retrieve all outstanding monies owed the state as a result of the sale of those state-owned enterprises.

Later Mr O.B. Amoah told DAILY GUIDE that he did not understand why the minister refused to publicly mention those who bought the divested companies between 2009 and 2013, stressing that in 2009, the former Minister of Finance, Dr Kwabena Duffuor, appeared before parliament and disclosed the total number of state-owned companies which had been divested from 1989 to 2008, including all those who bought those companies.

‘During the PNDC and NDC rule of Flt Lt Rawlings – from 1992 to 2008 - about 304 juicy state-owned enterprises, including State Mining Corporations, State Fishing Corporation, State Hotels, Ghana National Trading Corporation (GNTC), State Oil Palm Plantations, Pioneer Tobacco, Ghana Publishing Corporation, Aboso Glass Factory and many more were divested,’ O.B. Amoah told the paper, stressing that now that the NDC is in government again, it is selling strategic state-owned companies to people known to the government thus, putting many people into retrenchment and depriving them of their livelihoods.

BY Thomas Fosu Jnr


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