Nigeria’s President, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, has approved the immediate dissolution of the governing boards of federal government parastatals, agencies, institutions and government-owned companies, including the National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA) and the Nigerian Communications Satellite Limited (NigComSat).
According to the press release from the President’s Office, the directive took effect from Friday, 16th June 2023, and till new boards are constituted, the Managing Directors/Director-Generals of the affected organisations are directed to refer matters requiring the attention of their boards to the President, through the Permanent Secretaries of their respective supervisory Ministries and Offices, and the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation.
Per the NASRDA Act of 2010, NASRDA’s governing board is made up of a council of:
- The President and Vice-President of the Federation as the chairman and vice-chairman, respectively;
- The Ministers of Science and Technology, Defense, Interior, Information and Communication, Education, and Justice;
- The chairman of the National Planning Commission;
- The Attorney General of the Federation;
- The Director-General of the Agency as the secretary to the council; and
- Three distinguished scientists with experience in science and technology.
As the governing body, they were responsible for appointing the agency’s leadership (Director-General and Directors), approving NASRDA’s technology and research partnerships with other companies and private or non-governmental bodies, appointing technical consultants for the agency’s projects, approving the agency’s financial decisions, including staff remuneration, agency investment decisions and loan agreements.
However, according to Section 9 of the NASRDA Act, the board also oversees licences to organisations involved in satellite manufacturing and launch, space research and activities in Nigeria to protect public health and the safety of persons or properties, guard the national security of Nigeria, prevent contamination of outer space or interference with the space activities of others, dispose of a payload after the termination of operations, insure against third-party liability and help the agency comply with the international obligations of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Furthermore, this body is in charge of approving multiple technical divisions and agency centres and other necessary functions to facilitate the functions and performance of the agency,
Similarly, the composition of the Nigerian Communications Satellite Limited board of directors usually consists of the following:
- The chairman of the board: Usually appointed by the Nigerian government or a designated government agency;
- Managing Director of NigComSat;
- Representatives from relevant government ministries and agencies, including
- The Ministries of Communications and Digital Economy and Finance,
- Nigerian Communications Commission,
- Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission,
- Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation,
- Nigerian Society of Engineers,
- Nigerian Meteorological Agency,
- Nigerian Academy of Science, and
- Nigerian Society of Remote Sensing and Geoinformation.
- Representatives from the private sector, including professionals with expertise in telecommunications, satellite technology, finance, and related fields; and
- Other stakeholders or individuals are appointed based on their experience and qualifications.
However, at the moment, new boards have not yet been formed for both NASRDA and NigComSat. Therefore, the presidency assumes decision-making responsibilities concerning all board-related matters for these organisations. Meanwhile, the day-to-day administrative functions are being carried out by the Director-General of NASRDA and the Managing Director of NigComSat. These individuals remain responsible for the agencies’ operational management and coordination until new boards are formed.
This arrangement ensures that the necessary functions and performance of NASRDA and NigComSat are sustained even in the absence of boards, which could expedite the decision-making process. It allows directives to be directly communicated to the president, reducing bureaucratic delays and streamlining the decision-making process. Nonetheless, it is essential to note that the ultimate decision-making authority still resides with the presidency.