Swaziland - Competition from State-Owned Enterprises Swaziland - Competition
Swaziland is not party to the Government Procurement Agreement (GPA) of the World Trade Organization.
OECD Guidelines on Corporate Governance of SOEs
SOEs' senior managers report to the board and in turn the board reports to a line minister. The minister then works with the Standing Committee on Public Enterprise (SCOPE), which is composed of cabinet ministers. SOEs are governed by the Public Enterprises Act, which requires audits of the SOEs and public annual reports. SOEs generally practice the OECD Guidelines and Corporate Governance of SOEs in Swaziland. Government is not involved in the day-to-day management of SOEs. Boards of SOEs exercise their independence and responsibility. The Public Enterprise Unit provides regular monitoring of SOEs. SOEs submit yearly reports and financial statements to parliament. Senior SOE management reports to an independent board of directors who then report to a line minister. The line minister of the SOE appoints the board. In some cases, the allocation is politically motivated. In some cases, the king appoints his own representative as well. Generally, court processes are nondiscriminatory in relation to SOEs.
Sovereign Wealth Funds
In 1968 the late King Sobhuza II created a Royal Charter that governs the only Sovereign Wealth Fund (SWF), Tibiyo Taka Ngwane. This fund is not subject to government or parliamentary oversight and does not provide information on assets or financial performance to the public. Tibiyo Taka Ngwane publishes an annual report, but it is not required by law to do so. Similarly the SWF obtains independent audits at its own discretion.
Tibiyo Taka Ngwane says in its objectives that it supports the government in fostering economic independence and self-sufficiency. The SWF widely invests in the economy and holds shares in most major industries, e.g., sugar, commercial real estate, beverages, dairy, hotels, and transportation. For their social responsibility practices they pay scholarships for students. They do not have any legal obligations other than the vague language of investing in assets in trust for the Swazi nation. Tibiyo is run as a private equity investment fund for the benefit of the King and the royal family. The SWF and the government co-invest to exercise majority control in many instances.
Government departments do not engage in commercial activity that has an adverse commercial impact on U.S. firms. The SWF is an entity managed by a board of directors, which is appointed by the king. Tibiyo Taka Ngwane invests entirely in the local economy and local subsidiaries of foreign companies. Tibiyo has shares in a number of private companies. Sometimes foreign companies can form relationships with Tibiyo, especially if the foreign company wants to raise capital and can manage the project on its own.
The government does not have jurisdiction over the SWF, which is subject only to the King's approval. The SWF usually plays a passive role. In some companies the Chief Executive Officer of the SWF sits on the board of the private company.
Prepared by our U.S. Embassies abroad. With its network of 108 offices across the United States and in more than 75 countries, the U.S. Commercial Service of the U.S. Department of Commerce utilizes its global presence and international marketing expertise to help U.S. companies sell their products and services worldwide. Locate the U.S. Commercial Service trade specialist in the U.S. nearest you by visiting http://export.gov/usoffices.