The Ghanaian government has signaled its intent to explore public-private partnerships (PPPs) as a means to revive the fortunes of 17 State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs), including the Cocoa Processing Company (CPC). While the specific names of these enterprises were not disclosed, Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta noted that privatization was being considered to enhance profitability.
CPC has faced significant financial challenges, reporting cumulative losses totaling $163.2 million over the past 14 years (2009 to 2022). The government, through the Ministry of Finance, holds a 26% stake in the company. Minister Ofori-Atta emphasized the potential benefits of privatization, suggesting that joint ventures might lead to better performance by SOEs, preventing them from becoming financial burdens on the government.
He also reaffirmed the government’s commitment to investing in critical infrastructure, such as roads and telecommunications, to support business growth, even amid economic challenges.
Edward Boateng, Director-General of the State Interests and Governance Authority (SIGA), disclosed that Cabinet had granted approval for the privatization of the 17 identified companies. He expressed confidence that this collaboration could transform public entities into profitable ventures while creating a conducive environment for private sector growth.
Boateng highlighted the role of PPPs in successful projects, citing the Ada Songor salt project as a successful example. The project, achieved through cooperation between the government, Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, SIGA, and the private sector, led to increased profitability in the salt mining industry.
Ghana is actively working to reform its SOEs to improve operational performance and efficiency. These efforts are crucial as roughly 25% of the country’s debt burden is attributed to non-central government operations, primarily from entities like COCOBOD and energy sector enterprises. Reform measures include salary adjustment caps and management reforms to enhance competitiveness and efficiency.
This move towards PPPs is seen as a way to revitalize struggling SOEs, boost economic growth, and reduce the government’s financial burden, leading to a more robust and dynamic economy.