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Veep swears in reconstituted DIC Board

Veep John Mahama

Veep John Mahama

Vice President John Mahama on Monday swore in members of the reconstituted Divestiture Implementation Committee (DIC) Board at the Castle, Osu, with a charge to be guided by the principles of probity and accountability in discharge of their undertakings.

He told the nine-member board chaired by Dr Kwabena Duffour, Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, that their undertakings should be without blemish so as to ensure that the President was not “vilified for effecting inappropriate divestitures”.

“You are expected to avoid the mistakes of the past by ensuring that your decisions are well-considered” and “you will also need to ensure that proper legal due diligence is conducted to minimize the number of legal suits by workers and landowners which are presently before the law courts,” Mr Mahama added.

He tasked them to avoid past mistakes by ensuring that decisions taken by the DIC are well-considered and in the national interest. Vice President Mahama said by insisting that “due diligence is conducted on the technical competence and experience of investors” they would have helped to prevent the recurrence of divested firms falling into despair soon after their transfer to new owners thus defeating the purpose of the divestiture.

Citing the cases of the Tema Shipyard and Drydock and the Meridian Hotel, which are currently in the doldrums, Vice-President Mahama requested the board to avoid the recurrence of similar problems. In particular, he demanded of them to avoid the snare of conflict of interest which was likely to bring their fidelity as counsellors to the President into disrepute.

“A good divestiture must lead to the provision and expansion of quality employment for our people. It should impact on the lives of our people by reducing poverty,” he emphasized. Vice President Mahama said a focus of the board should be the injection of private funds to “energize industry, increase government’s tax revenues, result in the transfer of technology and increase the productive efficiency and competitiveness of industries”.

Taking a retrospective look of the mandate of the DIC, Vice-President noted with satisfaction the fruitful outcome of divestitures such as the Golden Tulip Hotel, La Palm Hotel, Tema Steelworks, Ghana Rubber Estates, but was also sad to note the many others that have failed.

Among the flagging entities include the Aboso Glass Factory, which despite being the only glass manufacturing entity in the West African sub-region aside that of Nigeria, still remained closed, just as the Bolgatanga Meat Factory.

In this regard, he asked the committee to work towards the reactivation of these entities, as well as the firms under the GIHOC empire in Kumasi, the Subri Industrial Plantation at Daboase in the Western Region and the Ghana Consolidated Diamonds Company at Akwatia in the Eastern Region.

Vice President Mahama said for the committee to be successful in carrying out its remit, it must be proactive and “move beyond being disinterested salesmen” to facilitate enquiries by investors to ensure the survival of local industry.

He said because the DIC was not meant to be a permanent bureaucratic structure of the state, the reconstituted board must work to bring the process to a closure within the foreseeable future.

Dr Duffour assured the Vice-President that the board would comply with his admonishments and ensure that only what is good for the Ghana is approved.

He said the board would further ensure quality management, not just capital for the divested companies.

Vice-President Mahama later administered the oaths of secrecy and the official oath to Dr Duffour and the other members including Mrs Betty Mould-Iddrisu, Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Ms Hannah Tetteh, Minister for Trade and Mr Stephen Amaonor Kwao, Minister for Employment and Social Welfare.

The rest were Mr Kofi Asamoah, Secretary-General of the Ghana Trade Union Congress, Mr Yao Klinogo, Executive Secretary of the State Enterprises Commission, Mr Asakkua Agambila, Executive Secretary of the DIC, Dr Odame Larbi, Acting Executive Secretary of the Lands omission and Lt. Col. Edward Fiawoo of the Ghana Armed Forces.

Source: GBC NEWS

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