Dag Detter – Public sector assets – gold mine?
Dag Detter is the former President of Stattum, the Swedish government holding company, and a Director at the Ministry of Industry, where he led the restructuring of the Swedish government’s portfolio of state owned enterprises, representing some 25 per cent of the domestic economy.
He now specialises in advising on the restructuring of public sector balance sheets and the management of under-performing public assets. He assists governments and public institutions in designing and implementing strategies for restoring balance sheet strength.
He recently wrote for the Financial Times, discussing how exactly public sector assets can be tapped for value. In the article he describes the assets, owned by the public sector, which are often hidden from public view: “transportation, airports, ports, water and electric utilities, communications, as well as vast portfolios of real estate that represent a veritable gold mine”.
Detter argues that there is an obvious opportunity to yield the value of these publicly-owned commercial assets at central government level, estimating their book value at around one time global annual GDP, or $75tn. “The market value of these assets would be a multiple of global GDP. In addition to this, Detter describes the further assets that we have at local government level which are of the same magnitude.
Dag Detter goes on to say:
Commercial assets owned by the public sector are in urgent need of professional management. There can be no professional management without such a vehicle — and the best place to start is most likely at the local level.
He offers us a unique idea which will revolutionise the way we think of public finance, be it for a national government or a city. He has unrivalled hands-on experience, backed up by academic data and research, to demonstrate that this is an invaluable tool to boost the economy and fight corruption. The idea of the public wealth of nations identifies a problem that few people had realised exists. It shatters the tired categories of left and right. And it suggests a relatively pain-free way of boosting economic growth.