State to launch government-owned business compliance programme
The Public Enterprises Minister, Hon Leon Jooste this week announced that the government will conduct a situation analysis of all public enterprises in its new Public Enterprises Compliance Project expected to start on 16 May 2016. The analysis is expected to take between two and three months to complete.
Jooste explained that one of the prominent matters which was uncovered is the matter of non-compliance of certain public enterprises to the various legislative and statutory provisions.
“The motivation for the ministry’s sense of urgency to address non-compliance in public enterprises is based on the principle that each of these items have a very specific “raison d’être.” The purpose is not merely to produce a set of documents to comply to legislative provisions; every single policy, agreement or plan is required to gauge the strategic and economic performance of public enterprises and to create transparency in its operations.” said Jooste.
The minister disclosed that previous attempts to “inspire” public enterprises to attend to items of non-compliance has yielded marginal results and the ministry has decided to commit to a dedicated project to address this matter without delay. The opportunity will be used to share the concerns of the ministry and particular elements of non-compliance will be discussed and appropriate remedial actions agreed upon.
The same opportunity will also be used to assess whether public enterprises have HR policies, asset policies, finance policies, dividend policies, remuneration policies and investment policies in place and whether these are aligned to the Directives of the ministry.
Each public enterprise will be required to commit to an agreed time frame to rectify the items and boards will be held accountable to these time lines. The main items under discussion will be Performance and Governance Agreements between boards and line ministers, Strategic Plans, Annual Business and Financial Plans which have to be submitted 90 days before the end of financial year-ends, Annual Reports which must be submitted within 6 months after the end of each financial year and other governance related matters.
The Ministry of Public Enterprises said it will use these documents to help parastatals formulate the most appropriate remedial actions. “Audited Financial Statements, for example, are not simply there to expose the financial performance of an entity but should (and will) be used to expose certain inefficiencies or shortcomings. The tendency where qualified audit reports are produced year after year without thorough scrutiny will no longer be condoned” the minister said.