Lack of competitive edge, professionalism, efficiency and accountability, regular political bickering, over-staffing, trade unionism, legal hurdles and confusion over their orientation -- profit-oriented or service-oriented -- have dogged the public entreprises (PEs), secretaries said in the hearing in the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) here today.
The ministers though accepted that the corporations are performing poorly, they didnot bother to show any political commitment on improving their performance.
Out of the total 36 corporations, only 17 are in profit and 19 are in loss according to the report of fiscal year 2008-09. After change in government and even the minister, the general managers and board of these corporations change. "Political parties treat corporations like the employment centre for their party cadres," the CA members said urging for strong political commitment from the ministers.
The secretaries and ministers, however, theoritically agreed on forming a permanent mechanism that can appoint the board of directors and general managers, and monitor the effective operations of corporations. "A permanent mechanism is need of the hour," said finance minister Surendra Pandey, who is under tremendous pressure from employees of the various loss making corporations.
"When they are in loss they put pressure on finance ministry to pay even their salaries but when they are in profit the employees share bonus and government gets nothing," Pandey said adding that their line ministries also lobby with them that increases extra expenses of the government. He also complained about the line ministries in being unable in monitoring them effectively.
Finance secretary Rameshwor Khanal supported the minister and also suggested to amend the Bonus Act. "The corporations should be brought under one umbrella to reduce the expenses," he added.
Some of the corporations have not yet completed their auditing since last couple of years. "The corporations have no proper management plan and only blame political instability," the CA members said adding that they should be held accountable.
Purushottam Ojha, secretary for Ministry of Commerce and Supplies said that there should be periodic monitoring of these corporations. However minister for Commerce and Supplies Rajendra Mahato said that the government should not run corporations in the age of free market economy.
Some of the CA members also complained that over the years interaction between PAC, and chairmen and general managers of the corporations has become monotonous and the performance of the corporations have worsened.