The Secretary to the Goverment of the Federation, Boss Mustapha has said that no governing board of a federal agency or parastatal has the power to remove the chief executive appointed by the President.
The SGF made the declaration on Monday amidst controversy over the suspension of the executive secretary, Professor Usman Yusuf, of the National Health Insurance Scheme(NHIS) by its governing council.
Boss Mustapha said boards may “however articulate infractions, investigate wrong doing and make recommendations to government through the supervisory ministry.”
He made the clarification at an induction programme for governing board members of federal parastatals, universities and medical centres at the Transcorp Hilton. The CEOs were also in attendance.
The induction, the second in the series, was organised by the Bureau of Public Service Reforms, in conjunction with the DFID.
It will be recalled that on 18 October, the chairman of the NHIS board, Ifenne Enyanatu announced the indefinite suspension of the executive secretary, Prof. Usman Yusuf, eight months after a similar suspension by the minister was annulled by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Enyanatu said the governing council resolved to suspend Yusuf because it had received several petitions against the NHIS boss. She said the board had the permission of the minister of health to suspend Yusuf, pending investigation.
“We consulted and got the approval of the Minister of Health before this suspension, ” she said. However, Yusuf ignored the order.
Speaking further, the SGF said the federal government was concerned that most governing boards have not understood their roles in the corporate governance of the agencies they superintend.
He listed some of the recurring infractions being committed by the boards which include undue interference by board chairmen in the day-to-day activities of their parastatals and agencies, blatant disregard for extant regulations guiding the conduct of board meetings.
Others are alleged interference in the function of the CEOs, issuing directives to staff, without recourse to the CEOs, imposing disciplinary measures against the CEOs, in flagrant violation of the laid down rules and using labour unions as agents of distractions in the agencies.
He also gave further clarifications about the roles of the boards and ministers. The role of the boards, he said, were limited to setting operational and administrative policies for their agencies in consonance with government policy directives.
“A board shall not be involved directly in the day-to-day management of a parastatal or an agency. A Minister exercises control of parastatals at policy level through the board of the parastatal only.
“The board must only operate as a part time board, in accordance with extant rules that forbids allocation of official quarters to members on a permanent basis and payment of estacode allowances for only overseas travels approved by the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation and their part-time Ministry,” he said.