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GeneralLiberia news

State -Owned Enterprises are catalysts for development

-World Bank Country Manager

The World Bank says State-Owned Enterprises are pivotal to a nation’s development because they serve as engines of growth.

By Lewis S. Teh 

Monrovia, Liberia, May 30, 2024 – World Bank Liberia Country Manager Madam Georgia Wallen describes state-owned enterprises as catalysts for development in any country.

“State-owned enterprises play a pivotal role in many economies around the globe, serving as engines of growth, providers of essential services, and catalysts for development”, she says.

However, she notes that their potential can only be fully realized when accompanied by robust governance mechanisms prioritizing transparency, accountability, and efficiency.

She made the comment at a daylong dialogue on the portfolio of state-owned enterprises’ annual aggregate performance report held on Tuesday, May 28, 2024, under the auspices of the World Bank in collaboration with the Bureau of State Own Enterprises.

The World Bank Country Rep observed that SOEs are deeply linked to the delivery of Liberia’s core development objectives and the government’s ARREST agenda – from scaling up energy access to boosting sustainable management of forests and expanding access to clean water and digital connectivity. 

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According to her, sound economic governance and sustainable practices are fundamental to SOE effectiveness and achieving Liberia’s national development goals.

Today, we will discuss insights from the recent report on “Improving Governance of State-Owned Enterprises and Reducing Fiscal Risks.” 

According to her, the SOE report underscores the importance of enhancing governance frameworks within SOEs to mitigate fiscal risks and promote sustainability. “Among the many insights you’ll take from today’s discussion, I want to highlight four key strategies outlined in the report.”

 She urges heads of various SOEs to embrace transparency as the cornerstone of SOE operations to ensure that decision-making processes are clear and accessible to stakeholders.

SOEs should have a clear vision aligned with national development goals. Comprehensive performance management systems are needed to monitor progress, identify areas for improvement, and drive efficiency and innovation.”

On corporate governance reforms, the World Bank envoy stresses that strengthening corporate governance frameworks is essential to instilling confidence among investors, creditors, and the public in SOEs. This includes establishing independent boards of directors, adopting best practices in risk management, and fostering a culture of integrity and ethical conduct.

She continues, “SOEs need to be financially sustainable to fulfill their mandate effectively without burdening the public purse.” This requires prudent financial management practices, including effective budgeting, debt management, and revenue optimization strategies.

The daylong event, held under the theme “Navigating the Path to Sustainable Enterprises,” brought together scores of government officials from line ministries, agencies, and commissions, including international partners from the World Bank and the African Development Bank. Editing by Jonathan Browne


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