The secretary to the government of the federation, Mr. Boss Mustapha, has apparently waded into the crisis rocking the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) saying boards of federal agencies or parastatals have no power to remove chief executive officers appointed by the President.
It would be recalled that the board of NHIS had recently suspended the executive secretary of the agency, Dr. Usman Yusuf.
Yusuf had rejected the suspension claiming that only the president can suspend him.
But speaking yesterday in Abuja during an induction programme for governing board members of federal parastatals, universities and medical centres organised by the Bureau of Public Service Reforms (BPSR), in conjunction with the Department for International Development, a United Kingdom (UK) government department responsible for administering overseas aid, Mustapha however said boards may articulate infractions, investigate wrongdoing and make recommendations to government through the supervisory ministry.
The SGF said governing boards are expected to provide policy direction and implementation of programmes for the achievement of the mandates of the agencies.
He said the federal government was concerned that most governing boards were yet to understand understood their roles in the corporate governance of the agencies they superintend.
He added that the government noticed some infractions on the side of some boards.
“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,” he said.
Mustapha reiterated his position that the roles of the boards of government agencies are limited to setting operational and administrative policies for their agencies in consonance with government’s policy directives.
He told the board members to take their appointments seriously, warning that government would not hesitate to enforce disciplinary actions on anyone who goes contrary to the terms of the appointment.
In his remarks, the acting director general of the BPSR, Mr. Dasuki Arabi said the induction was aimed at enabling board members to understand their roles and responsibilities and the behavior required of them.
He said while top-level federal civil servants like the permanent secretaries grow through the federal civil service and acquire wide public service knowledge and experience in the conduct of government businesses, most chief executive officers and governing board members of federal agencies, to some extent, lack such knowledge and experience.