The SGF, represented by Mr Maurice Mbaeri, Permanent Secretary General Services in the SGF’s office made the call during a two-day induction programme for Chairmen and Members of governing Board of Federal Government Parastatals, Agencies and Commissions on Monday in Abuja.
According to him, the programme, organised by the Bureau of Public Service Reforms (BPSR) in collaboration with Konard Adenauer Stiftung (KAS), aims to strengthen the capacity of Board members of federal parastatals and commissions on organisational effectiveness and cooperate governance.
“The programme aims to further deepen your understanding of the new policies, processes and procedures that have been introduced into the art of governance.
“This induction programme has become more significant at this time that the present Administration is fully committed to the entrenchment of good and purposeful governance in our country.
“As you are all aware, the Public Service that we all know remains the major service provider in Nigeria.
“It is the operating arm of Government with the responsibility of implementing policies and programmes that guarantee the efficient delivery of good governance and democratic dividends to citizens.
“It is, however, hierarchical in structure deriving its direction from the foremost decision-making body in the Federation, the Federal Executive Council (FEC).
“The affairs of Parastatals are superintended by a Governing Board, headed by a Chairman, to provide policy guidelines and liaise with the supervisory Ministry through the Permanent Secretary for effective monitoring, policy guidance and ensuring that Government policy directives relating to the functions of the Parastatal are carried out.
“It is, therefore, worthy of note that the day-to-day administration of the Parastatals is handled by a Chief Executive who doubles as the Accounting Officer.”
He expressed concern about some worrisome issues that were threatening the smooth operations of some MDAs such as:
“Disagreements on who is responsible for the day-to-day running of Parastatals and Agencies; disregard for extant regulations guiding\restricting the conduct of Board meetings and Interference in the function of the Office of the Chief Executive Officer.
“Issuing directives to staff without recourse to the Chief Executive Officer thereby creating disharmony amongst personnel.
“Initiating unlawful disciplinary measures against the Chief Executive without requisite guidance and approval from supervisory Ministry and Instigating the Labour Unions and Associations as agents of distraction in the Parastatals.”
According to him the observed poor and unhealthy relationships existing between Governing Boards and their Chief Executive Officers have become very worrisome to Government and are unacceptable.
“This could be avoided if Chairmen and Members of Governing Boards acquaint themselves with the instruments of the establishment of their respective organisations, where the role and responsibilities of the Board are prescribed,” Mbaeri said.
In his remarks, the Director-General of BPSR, Dr Dasuki Arabi, said the Induction was apt, especially in view of the growing concerns expressed about weak corporate governance practice and the struggle and misunderstanding among Board members in some Federal Parastatals, Agencies and Commissions.
“It is a known fact that while top-level Federal Civil Servants, such as Permanent Secretaries, Directors and their equivalent in the service grow through the Federal Civil Service and acquire varied public service knowledge and cognate experience in the conduct of government business, most members of Governing Boards of Federal Agencies largely lack such knowledge and experience.
“This is as a result of the fact that most of them are appointed from outside the public service, and assume duties in their respective agencies with limited knowledge of the workings of public service, corporate governance practices and conduct of government business.
“Note that Parastatals are important institutions because most citizens experience governance and service delivery directly through them.”
He said it was therefore imperative for the Federal Government to look into how to properly induct new appointees on the ethics and procedures of the Federal Public Service before or immediately after the assumption of office.
“In order to address this concern as well as respond to the numerous concerns from Federal Parastatals, Agencies and Commissions on matters relating to good corporate governance practices, the SGF directed the institutionalisation of the Induction Programme for members of Governing Boards and Chief Executive Officers in the Federal Public Service immediately they are appointed.
“It is in the foregoing context that this induction is taking place.
“So, members can gain an understanding of their roles, key responsibilities and the behaviour required of them in their respective organisations, both as individuals and as part of the Board’s collective responsibility.
“And how they can contribute effectively to promote good corporate governance practice in the agencies,” Arabi said.
For her part, Ms Marija Peran, Resident Representative of Konard Adenauer Stiftung (KAS) Nigeria said:
“The Foundation is a German political foundation, a non-governmental organisation.
“We are part of the official German development cooperation and thus funded by the German Government.
“We have established more than 100 offices worldwide and have been active in Nigeria for 20 years now.
“The focus of our work in Nigeria lies in the promotion of democratic governance and the rule of law and on security sector reform,” Peran said.
Mr Clem Agba, Minister of State for Budget and National Planning represented by Mr Philip Ugbodaga, Special Assistant Administration, congratulated the BPSR for the initiative, especially as the nation strives to overcome its economic and social challenges.
“The ability to overcome these challenges is predicated on good governance and good governance can only be achieved through the inherent capacities of those that lead the process of designing and implementing appropriate policies of government.
“Let me use this medium to acknowledge and appreciate the laudable contributions of KAS to the successful hosting of this training,” Agba said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Inductees include those for the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC)
Other Board members inducted are those for the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) and the National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA).
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