SGF voids suspension of Usman Yusuf, says boards have no power to suspend govt CEOs

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Yusuf Usman, the Executive Secretary of the National Health Insurance Sceme, NHIS.
Yusuf Usman, the Executive Secretary of the National Health Insurance Sceme, NHIS.

The Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, Boss Mustapha, has said that no governing board of a federal agency or parastatal has the power to remove the chief executive officer, CEO, appointed by the President.

Mr Mustapha made the clarification amid the controversy over the suspension of Usman Yusuf, executive secretary of the National Health Insurance Scheme, NHIS.

The SGF stated this at an induction programme for governing board members of federal parastatals, universities and medical centres at the Transcorp Hilton.

The induction, the second in the series, was organised by the Bureau of Public Service Reforms, in conjunction with the DFID.

The board of NHIS had announced the suspension of Yusuf, citing financial infraction and abuse of office.

But Mr Yusuf defied the board and returned to his office, saying only President Muhammadu Buhari could suspend him.

The board had insisted that Yusuf remains suspended.

Mr Mustapha said government was concerned that most governing boards have not understood their roles in the corporate governance of the agencies they superintend.

“Some of them are 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,” he said.

“Others are 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.”

The secretary to the government of the federation also gave further clarifications about the roles of the boards and ministers.

“The role of the boards are limited to setting operational and administrative policies for their agencies in consonance with government policy directives,” he said.

“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.”