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Selling off non-performing state assets to ‘cronies’ is myopic – Bernard Mornah

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The convener of the Arise Ghana Movement, Bernard Mornah, has raised questions regarding the sale of state-owned institutions to, people he termed as, government cronies.

According to him, non-performing state agencies should be reformed and revitalised rather than sold off to private individuals.

Speaking on the The Big Issue, on Channel One TV, Bernard Mornah characterised the idea of selling off unprofitable state institutions as “myopic and midget thinking”, emphasising that revamping these agencies would be a more effective way to optimise their potential and benefit the nation.

Mr Mornah said state assets are entrusted to appointed officials for proper management and maintenance, not for personal enrichment through indiscriminate sale.

He wondered why government appointees, tasked with growing state assets, would instead opt to sell them off for personal gain, effectively perpetuating a form of ‘state capture’ that benefits themselves at the expense of the nation.

“We select people so that they will be able to build upon the assets we have, to be able to add unto the wealth of our nation and not to come and steal the wealth of our nation. And so, when people are appointed into office, and they meet assets of the state, the least we expect of them is to maintain those assets and manage them. The more we expect of them is to actually increase the assets stock of our nation.

He added, “But when you elect people to office and all that they do is to deliberately appoint persons that will see or supervise the seeming collapse of state assets, to serve as fodder for the sale of these assets to themselves, then society has to rise.

“Over several years, we have sold and continue to sell, and what we’re left for in governance is what I call stream of expenditure, with very little to rack in as revenue…It’s myopic for anyone to come and say that a certain state institution is not making profits, the basis for which you should sell it. I don’t get it. This argument that some of the hotels are making losses, is the reason for which you have to sell them is midget thought or thinking.”

Bernard Mornah urged the government to take a bold stance and replace underperforming officials with competent individuals who can deliver results, emphasising the need for accountability and merit-based appointments to drive progress and efficiency in the public sector.

“There are state institutions, hitherto there were making losses and were almost non-functional, because of managerial inefficiencies. So, what you do is to yank off those who have underperformed and bring in people with the requisite qualifications and competence to manage them. If a state institution is not functioning, look for efficiency and you will transform.”

He cited state companies such as the Ghana Publishing Company, and Museums and Monuments Board which were non-functional but new leaders were appointed to make significant impacts.

On June 18, Okudzeto Ablakwa, the Member of Parliament for North Tongu, joined forces with other social groups to stage a protest against the sale of a 60% of Social Security National Insurance Trust’s (SSNIT) stake in some four hotels to Rock City Hotel, citing potential conflicts of interest and lack of transparency in the deal

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