Stakeholders seek reforms in government parastatals

Some past and serving heads of parastatals in the country have suggested the need to prune the number of government agencies or take appropriate steps to reengineer the functions of the agencies for greater efficiency.

They made the assertion yesterday at a colloquium titled: ‘Have Nigerian Parastatals Delivered on their Promises?’ organised by the Centre for Values in Leadership (CVL).

The colloquium was held to celebrate former group managing director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Chamberliain Oyibo, who turned 76 years old and pioneer managing director of the Nigeria Railway Corporation (NRC), Nat Okoro, who marked his 86th birthday in Lagos.

They said there was the need to organise a national conference of former and serving government chief executive officers where all the challenges facing parastatals would be identified, addressed and solutions proffered.

Speaking, the Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Hadiza Bala Usman, said it was imperative to urgently restructure and reform government agencies for improved services.

She added that heads and board members of ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) also needed to study the rules to adequately understand their roles “if they ever aspire to deliver or achieve positive milestones in their jobs.

“It is, therefore, the responsibilities of heads of the parastatals to educate the ministers while it is also incumbent on them to be part of whatever their workers are doing and how they execute their jobs, instead of isolating themselves from their day-to-day activities.”

Former Chief Scientific Officer, Department of Industrial Sciences and Energy, Federal Ministry of Science and Technology, Oluremi Aribisala noted that one of the biggest challenges of government parastatals was lack of adequate staff training.

She lamented that most government agencies in the country are not taking full advantage of information technology, which is important to efficiency. Meanwhile, Professor of Management Education, University of Lagos, Alloy Ejiogu said that: “Appointments into the board of government agencies has ruined them and most of the appointees only go there for what they can get.”

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