The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, has said that chairmen of boards of parastatals and agencies do not have the powers to take actions against the chief executives of those agencies. He warned them not to interfere in the administration of their organizations. The position of the SGF is a boost to the Executive Secretary of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), Usman Yusuf, who was recently suspended by his board but has so far refused to accept their decision.
At the induction of board members of agencies, including federal universities, and medical centers in Abuja on Monday, Boss Mustapha said:
- Governing boards do not have the power to suspend or remove a chief executive appointed by the president without due process.
- Governing boards are only expected to provide policy direction and implementation of programmes for the achievement of the mandates of their respective agencies.
- Chairmen of governing boards are expected to report to their respective ministries through permanent secretaries in order to ensure effectiveness, guidance and policy coordination.
Quote: “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… Imposing disciplinary measures on chief executives without recourse to laid down procedure and approval from supervision authorities and using the labor unions as agents of distraction in the parastatals, among others… Boards should desist from these actions and utterances that continue to ridicule the government,” Mustapha said.
Why It Matters: The immediate consequence of Mustapha’s announcement is that the NHIS Secretary has been vindicated from the presidency in his insistence that the board has no power to sack him. His template, in which he recalled himself back from suspension, is now expected to be followed by other CEOs of government agencies. The concern is that if a board does not have the powers to take disciplinary actions against an agency head, it makes their roles a lot more difficult.