At the workshop, participants discussed various ways to increase efficiency and transparency of state-owned enterprises (SOE), with a focus on tools for SOE financial monitoring and analysis of SOE performance. Recent improvements in data exchange between public institutions helped inform the discussions.
“We have already started using new tools and approaches to increase efficiency in managing public assets,” said Karam Hasanov, Chairman of the State Committee for Property Issues, after the workshop. “We are now working on restructuring SOEs, including identifying their non-core assets and developing plans for their privatization. In addition, the application of e-services for management of state-owned assets is increasing.”
Following World Bank recommendations, an SOE portal was developed which collects financial, accounting, performance, human resources and assets information from SOEs in Azerbaijan. Currently, information related to 20 large SOEs is available in the portal. This platform will enable the Government to make more informed decisions, require greater transparency from SOEs, and support the introduction of modern corporate governance principles in SOEs.
“The World Bank has supported the Government in implementing an ambitious SOE reform agenda, by assessing and advising on the implementation of a corporate governance system for SOEs, improving evaluation of risks, and performance assessment,” said Naveed Hassan Naqvi, World Bank Country Manager for Azerbaijan. “This assistance will guide the Government in its future reform steps toward further strengthening of SOE oversight and management.”
Governance reforms can vastly improve the financial performance, transparency and accountability of SOEs, while the disclosure of timely, reliable and complete information can support informative fiscal risk management. Greater financial disclosure and transparency can bring about significant benefits for the Government and ultimately for the country’s citizens.