Federal Government stops MDAs from allocating vehicles, houses to board members

The Federal Government has barred the governing boards of ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) from being allocated with official quarters and vehicles on a permanent basis.

The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, said this on Monday in Abuja at the induction program for chairmen, governing board members and chief executives of parastatals, agencies and commissions inaugurated by the federal government.

Mustapha represented by the Permanent Secretary, General Services Office (GSO), Dr. Maurice Mbaeri, at the event organised by the Bureau of Public Service Reform (BPSR) and Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS), said that the board must only operate as a part-time board.

“The board must only operate as a part-time board in accordance with extant rules that forbid allocation of official quarters to members on a permanent basis, use of official vehicles by members on a permanent basis and authorizes payment of estacode allowances for only overseas’ travels approved by the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation and their supervising Ministry,” Mustapha said.

He said that he had observed, with concern, divergent interpretations to the roles governing boards of federal parastatals are expected to play in the corporate governance of their organizations.

He also said that a number of worrisome issues have begun to emerge including disagreements on who is responsible for the day-to-day running of parastatals and agencies; 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,” he added.

Speaking earlier, the Director General of BPS, Mr. D. I. Arabi, the event is germane now more than ever before due to the concerns expressed about the weak corporate governance practice in government agencies in recent times and in view of the avoidable frictions and misunderstandings between and among CEO/Board Members/Commissioners in some federal parastatals, agencies and commissions.

“While top-level federal civil servants, such as Permanent Secretaries grow through the Federal Civil Service and acquire extensive public service knowledge and experience in the conduct of government business, most members appointed to governing boards of federal agencies largely lack such knowledge and experience.

“This is because most of them are selected from outside the public service, and assume duties in their respective agencies with limited knowledge of the workings of the public service, corporate governance practices and conduct of government business,” Arabi said.

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