Decide now on which SoE to kill or save

The issue of state-owned enterprises needs urgent attention and decisive action considering that most of the entities have not yet met any of their targets. Although many jobs have been created through the formation of the state-owned enterprises, the current state of the economy does not seem to allow expenditure where it is clear that such investment will not be recouped.

There is no doubt that most state-owned enterprises have failed to deliver because of mismanagement or just recklessness in the hands of people who do not understand why they hold such top positions in the organisations. Turning around state-owned enterprises should not be such a big deal considering that most will have government bailouts to fall back on when times become hard.

There is talk about the private sector doing very well. This is because private sector businesses are run like businesses, while state-owned enterprises are run without due diligence. Most state-owned enterprises have a lot people holding top positions, while those who do the actual dirt work are few.

 Recently, revelations about salary increases for state-owned enterprise bosses shocked the nation. Much of the shock derived from the fact that some of the chief executive officers whose salaries are supposed to be increased have not been able to post any profits in a long time. In fact, all what they are known for is when it comes to begging the government to bail them out yet all the time they will spending money quietly.

All what is happening and has happened so far requires the government to decide which state-owned enterprise should remain and which must be cut off. There are a lot of such state-owned enterprises that are duplicating duties. These can be merged into one or better still downgrade others into departments under parent ministries. This will reduce expenditure on paying top bosses whose job descriptions are blurry. It also cuts down on red tape because there will be few people to make decisions.

But to be able to do this requires serious thinking and decisiveness. It should be done in such a way that jobs will not be lost and if at all there will be job losses, they must be kept at a minimum. It would save both the government and all the workers a lot of time and effort to decide now about which state-owned enterprise must fall instead of running around when it is too late.