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Antigua and Barbuda

7. State-Owned Enterprises

State-owned enterprises (SOEs) in Antigua and Barbuda are governed by their respective legislation and do not generally pose a threat to investors, as they are not designed for competition.  The government established many SOEs to create economic activity in areas where the private sector is perceived to have very little interest. A list of SOEs can be found at: http://ab.gov.ag/detail_page.php?page=1 .

SOEs are headed by boards of directors to which senior managers report.  In 2016, the Parliament passed the Statutory Corporations (General Provisions) Act, which specifies the ministerial responsibilities in the appointment and termination of board members, decisions of the board, and employment in these SOEs.  In order to promote diversity and independence on SOE boards, professional associations, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and civil society may nominate directors for boards.

Privatization Program

Antigua and Barbuda does not currently have a targeted privatization program.

Bahamas, The

7. State-Owned Enterprises

State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs) are active in the utilities and services sectors of the economy.  There is a published list of the 25 SOEs available on www.bahamas.gov.bs  .

Key SOEs include:

  • Bahamas Air Holdings Ltd. (National Airline)
  • Public Hospitals Authority
  • Civil Aviation Authority
  • Nassau Airport Development Authority
  • University of The Bahamas
  • Health Insurance Authority
  • Bank of The Bahamas (65 percent Bahamian government)
  • Bahamas Power and Light (BPL)
  • Water and Sewerage Corporation (WSC)
  • Broadcasting Corporation of The Bahamas (ZNS)
  • Nassau Flight Services
  • Hotel Corporation of The Bahamas

The Bahamian government provides average annual subsidies of USD 400 million to support SOEs.  Within the past decade, none have returned profits or paid dividends. The Public Hospitals Authority is the largest SOE and received USD 214 million in subventions in the 2017/2018 budget.  WSC and BPL are considered essential services and receive significant budgetary support. The government has permitted investment in these sectors and has approved licenses to private suppliers of electrical and water and sewerage services.  These licenses have been issued for private real estate developments or in locations in which there is limited government capacity to provide services. An exception is the city of Freeport on the island of Grand Bahama, which has its own licensing authority and maintains monopolies for the provision of electricity, water, and sanitation services.

The Bahamian government announced plans to find a strategic partner for Nassau Flight Services, but there does not appear to be an immediate plan for the divestment of either company.  Privately owned airlines have complained of the market distortions created by Bahamas Air, claiming the national airline sells key routes below market value and benefits from not remitting licensing and other fees required by private companies.  The airline has recorded annual losses for more than two decades.

Privatization Program

The Bahamian government has not taken definitive steps to implement its proposed privatization plans but has indicated a preference for public-private partnerships as the model for privatizing key sectors.  The government divested 49 percent of the Bahamas Telecommunication Company in 2011, but issued a second license for cellular services and retained 51 percent equity in the new company. In his February 2018 speech, the Deputy Prime Minister serving as Minister of Finance announced the government’s intention to divest additional equity in the Bahamian telecommunications sector.  In February 2109, the Bahamian government selected UK-based Global Ports Holding’s $250 million proposal to redevelop the New Providence cruise terminal.

Barbados

7. State-Owned Enterprises

State-owned enterprises (SOEs) in Barbados work in partnership with ministries, or under their remit, and carry out certain specific ministerial responsibilities.  There are currently about 60 SOEs in Barbados operating in areas such as tourism, investment services, broadcasting and media, sanitation services, sports, and culture.

SOEs in Barbados are not found in the key areas earmarked for investment.  They are all wholly-owned government entities. They are headed by boards of directors to which their senior management reports.

As part of the ongoing Barbados Economic Recovery and Transformation Program, the government of Barbados is addressing the expenditure position of the SOEs by defining clear objectives for SOE reform, reducing the wage bill of these entities, and implementing other necessary reform measures.

Privatization Program

Barbados does not have a targeted privatization program.

Belize

7. State-Owned Enterprises

State Owned Enterprises (SOEs) are active in the utilities sectors.  The Government is the majority shareholder in the Belize Water Services Limited, the country’s sole provider of water services, the Belize Electricity Limited, the sole distributor electricity, and the Belize Telemedia Limited, the largest telecommunications provider in the country.

SOEs usually engage senior government officials, and at times include members of local business bureaus and chambers of commerce, labor organizations, and quasi-governmental agencies, as a part of their management and board of directors.  The board guides the direction, policies, and decisions of the SOE that ostensibly is independent, but in practice has included high-ranking government officials as well as close relatives of government officials. Current and previous administrations are accused of nepotism in staffing as well as conflicts of interest when board members or directors are also represented in organizations that do business with the SOEs.

There is no published list of SOEs.  The following are the major SOEs operating in the country. Information relating to their operations are available on their website, including their audited financial reports:

There are no third party market analysis sources that evaluate whether SOEs receive non-market advantages by the government.  The Belize Electricity Limited and the Belize Water Services Limited are the only service providers in their respective sectors.  The Belize Telemedia Services, on the other hand, competes with one other provider for mobile connectivity and there are multiple players that provide internet and data services.  The Public Utilities Commission regulates all utilities.

Privatization Program

The Government does not currently have a privatization program.

Dominica

7. State-Owned Enterprises

State-owned enterprises (SOEs) in Dominica work in partnership with ministries, or under their remit to carry out certain specific ministerial responsibilities.  There are currently 20 SOEs in Dominica operating in areas such as tourism, investment services, broadcasting and media, solid waste management, and agriculture. They are all wholly-owned government entities.  Each is headed by a board of directors which senior management reports.

Privatization Program

Dominica does not currently have a targeted privatization program.

Grenada

7. State-Owned Enterprises

Grenadian state-owned enterprises are legislatively established by acts of Parliament.  These enterprises all have boards of directors appointed by the government and answerable to particular ministries.  Twenty-five of 28 authorized state-owned enterprises (SOEs) are operational. They secure credit on commercial terms from commercial banks.  SOEs submit annual reports to the Government Audit Department and are subject to audits shared with their parent ministries. SOEs manage transportation infrastructure (ports and airports), housing, education, hospitals, cement production, investment promotion, and small business development, among other functions.  Generally, where they compete with the private sector, they do so on an equal basis.

Grenada, like its neighbors, acknowledges the OECD guidelines.  Corporate governance of SOEs is established and regulated by founding statutes.  Local courts show no favoritism toward SOEs in adjudication of investment disputes.

For additional information on SOEs in Grenada see: http://www.oecd.org/countries/grenada/  

Privatization Program

Grenada does not have a privatization program

Guyana

7. State-Owned Enterprises

Private enterprises compete with state-owned enterprises (SOEs) under the same terms and conditions for market access, credit and other business operations, and licenses.  Currently there are six SOEs in Guyana: Guyana Sugar Corporation (GUYSUCO), Guyana Oil Company Limited, Guyana Power and Light Inc., National Communications Network, Guyana National Printers, and Georgetown Marriott Hotel.  The corporate governance structure of Guyanese SOEs requires that senior management report to a chief executive officer, who reports to a board of directors, which in turn reports to a government minister. Political interventions occur in the management of SOEs because their boards of directors are filled through political appointments directed by the Office of the President.

The National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL), a private limited company, acts as subscriber and manager of the government’s shares, stocks, and debentures of any company, cooperative societies, or other corporate body.  It also manages government-owned real estate properties, including their acquisition, disposal, or rental. Managing the government’s shareholdings and minimizing conflict of interests are NICIL’s main functions.

During the 1990s, Guyana underwent a significant privatization process, divesting many of its holdings in the banking, telecommunications, agriculture, and manufacturing sectors.  Since then, the pace of privatization has slowed. Since 2003, the government has privatized only two entities: National Bank for Industry and Commerce, which now does business as Republic Bank; and, National Edible Oil Company, acquired by a biofuels company.  Furthermore, the state reduced its participation in two of Guyana’s leading bauxite mining companies: Aroaima Mining Company and Linmine Bauxite.

The Public Corporation Act requires public corporations to publish an annual report no later than six months after the end of the calendar year.  These financial reports must be audited by an independent auditor.

Privatization Program

Foreign investors generally have equal access to privatization opportunities, even though some report that the privatization process may not be wholly transparent.  For some larger operations, foreign investment is openly preferred. Since 1992, the GoG has privatized 16 out of 22 state-owned enterprises (SOEs). Only Guyana Oil Company Limited, Guyana National Printers Limited, Guyana Sugar Corporation, National Communication Network (NCN), Guyana Power & Light (GPL), and Georgetown Marriott Hotel remain as SOEs.  Most large-scale investments in Guyana’s infrastructure are government projects financed by international financial institutions, with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) being the government’s largest lender. U.S. firms are generally given equal access to these projects through a public bidding process. In some cases, allegations have been made that this bidding process has been less than transparent.  In cases where international financial institution (IFI) funding has been involved in the project, such allegations have been credibly addressed. In cases where the project relied solely on GoG funds, redress has been more problematic to achieve.

Haiti

7. State-Owned Enterprises

Before privatization efforts that began in the mid-1990s, the government of Haiti fully owned and operated State-Owned Enterprises (SOE). The Haitian commercial code governs the operations of the SOEs. The sector included a flourmill, a cement factory, a telephone company (TELECO), the electricity company (EDH), the national port authority, the airport authority, and two commercial banks: Banque Nationale de Credit and Banque Populaire Haitienne. The law defines SOEs as autonomous enterprises that are legally authorized to be involved in commercial, financial and industrial activities. All SOEs operate under the supervision of a sectorial ministry, and are expected to create economic and social return. Today, some SOEs are fully owned by the state, while others are jointly owned commercial enterprises. The Haitian parliament has full authority to liquidate state enterprises that are underperforming.

Today, the non-financial SOEs that remain in the public portfolio includes the electricity company (EDH), the national airport authority, a sugar factory, the port authority, the social security office, the postal office, and the vehicle insurance company. The majority of SOEs are financially sound, with the exception of EDH. EDH receives substantial annual subsidies from the government of Haiti to stay in business.

Privatization Program

In response to the economic difficulties of the late 1990s and mismanagement of the SOEs, the government liberalized the market to allow foreign firms to invest in the management and/or ownership of Haitian state-owned enterprises. To accompany the initiative, the government established the Commission for the Modernization of Public Enterprises in 1996 to facilitate the privatization process, while creating strategies to privatize all SOEs.

In 1998, two U.S. companies, Seaboard and Continental Grain, purchased shares of the state-owned flourmill. Each partner currently owns a third of the company, known today as Les Moulins d’Haiti. In 1999, a consortium of Colombian, Swiss, and Haitian investors purchased a majority stake in the national cement factory. In 2010, a Vietnamese corporation, Viettel, officially acquired 60 percent of the state telecommunications company Teleco (now operating as Natcom), with the government of Haiti retaining 40 percent ownership. Competition is not distorted in favor of state-owned enterprises to the detriment of private companies.

The government has allowed limited private sector investment in selected seaports. The government provided fiscal incentives to the GB Group to build Haiti’s first Panamax container port. This project received its first ship in late 2015.

The government of Haiti has allowed private sector investment in electricity generation to compensate for EDH’s inability to supply sufficient power. Three private power producers generate electricity for EDH. The most recent entry, E-Power, opened a 32 megawatt, USD 56 million, IFC-financed heavy fuel-oil powered generation plant in Port-au-Prince in 2011. The National Regulatory Authority of the Energy Sector in Haiti (ANARSE), a state body created by decree in February 2016, concluded prequalification rounds for regional and mini electricity grids and power production, in October 2018 and March 2019 respectively. ANARSE is expected to start issuing tenders in 2019 for concessions for public private partnership for these regional and mini grids.

Jamaica

7. State-Owned Enterprises

As a condition of Jamaica’s Stand-By Agreement with the IMF, the GOJ is reforming the public sector to include State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs).  Jamaican SOEs are most active in the agriculture, mining, energy, and transport sectors of the economy. Of 162 public bodies, 56 are self-financing and are therefore considered SOEs as either limited liability entities established under the Companies Act of Jamaica or statutory bodies created by individual enabling legislation.  SOEs generally do not receive preferential access to government contracts. SOEs must adhere to the provisions of the GOJ (Revised) Handbook of Public Sector Procurement Procedures and are expected to participate in a bidding process to provide goods and services to the government. SOEs also provide services to private sector firms.  SOEs must report quarterly on all contracts above a prescribed limit to the Integrity Commission. Since 2002, SOEs have been subject to the same tax requirements as private enterprises and are required to purchase government-owned land and raw material and execute these transactions on similar terms as private entities.

Jamaica’s Public Bodies Management and Accountability Act (PBMA) requires SOEs to prepare annual corporate plans and budgets, which must be debated and approved by Parliament.  As part of the GOJ’s economic reform agenda, SOE performance is monitored against agreed targets and goals, with oversight provided by stakeholders including representatives of civil society.  The GOJ prioritized divestment of SOEs, particularly the most inefficient, as part of its IMF reform commitments. Private firms compete with SOEs on fair terms and SOEs generally lack the same profitability motives as private enterprises, leading to the GOJ’s absorbing the debt of loss-making public sector enterprises.

In 2012, the GOJ approved a Corporate Governance Framework (CGF) to promote improved performance by SOEs.  While Jamaican SOEs are not required to adhere to Organization of Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Guidelines on Corporate Governance, the CGF is based on international best practices and principles of corporate governance.

Jamaica’s public bodies report to their respective Board of Directors appointed by the responsible portfolio minister and while no general rules guide the allocation of SOE board positions, some entities allocate seats to specific stakeholders.  Under the CGF, persons appointed to boards should possess the skills and competencies required for the effective functioning of the entity. However, some board members are selected on the basis of their political affiliation. The Jamaican court system, while allegedly slow, is respected for being fair and balanced and in many cases has ruled against the GOJ and its agents.

Privatization Program

As a condition of Jamaica’s Stand-By Agreement with the IMF, the GOJ identified a number of public assets to be privatized from various sectors.  Jamaica actively courts foreign investors as part of its divestment strategy. In certain instances, the government encourages local participation.  Restrictions may be placed on certain assets due to national security considerations. Privatization can occur through sale, lease, or concession. Transactions are generally executed through public tenders but the GOJ reserves the right to accept unsolicited proposals for projects deemed to be strategic.  The Development Bank of Jamaica, which oversees the privatization program, is mandated to ensure that the process is fair and transparent. When some entities are being privatized, advertisements are placed locally and through international publications, such as the Financial Times, New York Times, and Wall Street Journal, to attract foreign investors.  Foreign investors won most of the privatization bids in the last decade.

While the time taken to divest assets depends on state of readiness and complexity, on average transactions take between 18 and 24 months.  The process involves pre-feasibility and due diligence assessments; feasibility studies; pre-qualification of bidders; and a public tender. In 2018, the GOJ signed a 25-year concession for the management and development of the Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston.  Other large privatizations include the 2003 privatization of Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay and the 2015 privatization of the Kingston Container Terminal port facility. The GOJ is in process of privatizing the Wigton Wind Farm, a 62-megawatt wind farm, through a public offering, and is developing a pipeline of additional privatization projects.  The GOJ also seeks to divest stagnant assets owned by large government entities such as the Urban Development Corporation and Factories Corporation of Jamaica.

List of current privatization transactions can be found at http://dbankjm.com/current-transactions/  

Saint Kitts and Nevis

7. State-Owned Enterprises

State-owned enterprises (SOEs) in St. Kitts and Nevis work in partnership with ministries or under their remit, carrying out certain specific ministerial responsibilities. There are currently about10 SOEs in St. Kitts and Nevis in areas such as tourism, investment services, broadcasting and media, solid waste management, and agriculture.

They are all wholly owned government entities.  Each is headed by a board of directors which the senior management reports.  A list of SOEs can be found at http://www.gov.kn  .

Privatization Program

St. Kitts and Nevis does not currently have a targeted privatization program.

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

7. State-Owned Enterprises

There are currently 28 state-owned enterprises (SOEs) operating in the following sectors: water, housing, transportation (ports), electricity, tourism, information and communication, telecommunications, investment and investment services, financial services, fisheries, agriculture, sports and culture, civil engineering, and infrastructure.

SOEs in St. Vincent and the Grenadines are all wholly-owned government entities. They are headed by boards of directors to which senior managers report.  They are governed by their respective legislation and do not generally pose a threat to investors, as they are not designed for competition.

Privatization Program

There are currently no targeted privatization programs in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

Suriname

7. State-Owned Enterprises

State owned enterprises (SOEs) operate in the agribusiness, mining, communication, travel, energy, and financial sectors.  SOEs provide little information regarding their operations. Only a few produce annual reports accessible to the public. Several have been accused of fraud or corrupt practices. 

There is no public list of SOEs.

SOEs receive advantages when competing in the domestic market.  These include access to government guarantees and government loans otherwise unavailable to private enterprises.  Additionally, SOEs have access to land and raw materials inaccessible to private entities.

The government does not yet adhere to the OECD Guidelines on Corporate Governance for SOEs.

Privatization Program

The GOS did announce a privatization program largely in the agricultural sector, but the only privatization was the state-owned banana company in 2014.

Foreign investors can participate in privatization programs.  In 2014, the Belgium multinational UNIVEG acquired a 90 percent stake in the state-owned banana company through a public, international bidding process.  The European Commission assisted with the bidding process. As this is the only successful example of privatization within Suriname, no standard privatization or public bidding processes have been established by the GOS.

Trinidad and Tobago

7. State-Owned Enterprises

TT has 55 state-owned enterprises (SOEs), comprised of 43 wholly owned companies, eight majority-owned, and four in which the government has a minority share. SOEs are active in sectors like energy, manufacturing, agriculture, tourism, financial services, transportation, and communication. Information on the total assets of SOE’s, total net income of SOE’s and number of people employed by SOE’s is not available. The Investments Division of the Ministry of Finance also has the responsibility to appoint directors to the board of state enterprises. SOEs are often informally or explicitly obligated to consult with government officials before making major business decisions. According to TT’s constitution, the government is entitled to:

  1. exercise control directly or indirectly over the affairs of the enterprise
  2. appoint a majority of directors of the board of directors of the enterprise
  3. hold at least 50 per cent of the ordinary share capital of the enterprise

A published list of SOEs for 2019 can be found here: https://www.finance.gov.tt/state-enterprises-investment-programme-2019/  . In sectors that are open to both the private sector and foreign competition, SOEs are sometimes favored for government contracts.

Privatization Program

TT does not have a privatization program in place, but the government has issued initial public offerings on various state-owned companies in order to obtain revenue, primarily in the finance and energy sectors. Foreign investors can participate in the initial public offerings.

The purchase of initial public offering shares on past occasions was open to the public, easy to understand, non-discriminatory and transparent. Please consult https://ngc.co.tt/media/news/ngl-initial-public-offering-brokerage-details/   for additional information.

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