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NHIS: You lack powers to suspend agencies’ CEOs, SGF tells Board members

The Federal Government has said that the membership of governing boards of Parastatals, Agencies and Commissions (MDAs) are part time, a privilege and thus they lack powers to suspend or remove a Chief Executive appointed by President without due process.

The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr. Boss Mustapha, said this on Monday in Abuja.

Mustapha warned the chairmen of the boards not to interfere in the administration of the agencies.

The SGF handed down the warning at the induction programme for governing board members of some parastatal agencies, including federal universities and medical centres, organised by the Bureau of Public Service Reforms (BPSR) and Partnership to Engage, Learn and Reform (PERL) of the Department for International Development (DFID).

“The governing boards were expected to provide policy direction and implementation of programmes for the achievement of the mandates of the agencies,” he said.

However, the SGF did not give examples. He was apparently referring to the controversy over the suspension of the Executive Secretary (ES) of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), Prof. Usman Yusuf, by its board.

The SGF, who said the chairmen should rather report to their ministries through the permanent secretaries for effectiveness, guidance and policy coordination, noted that most governing boards were yet to clearly understand their roles in the corporate governance of the organisations.

“Some of the issues that have become recurring decimals are undue interference by board chairmen in the day to day activities of the respective agencies, blatant disregard for extant regulations guiding and restricting of board meetings; issuing directives to staff without recourse to the chief executive officer, thereby undermining authority and creating disharmony among personnel.

“Imposing disciplinary measures on chief executives without recourse to laid down procedure and approval from supervision authorities and using the labour unions as agents of distraction in the parastatals, among others.We should desist from these actions and utterances that continue to ridicule the government,” Mustapha said.

He told the board members to take their appointments seriously, warning that government would not hesitate to enforce disciplinary actions on anyone who went contrary to the terms of the appointment.

Earlier, the Acting Director-General of the BPSR, Mr. Dasuki Arabi, said the induction was timely.

Arabi said that the objective of the induction was to enable board members to understand their roles and responsibilities and the behaviours required of them.

He said that while top-level federal civil servants like the permanent secretaries grow though the federal civil service and acquire wide public service knowledge and experiences in the conduct of government businesses, most CEOs and governing board members of federal agencies, to some extent, lack such knowledge and experience.

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Ihesiulo Grace

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