By G9ija

The Senate joint committee on finance and national planning, on Tuesday, queried the Director-General of Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Lamido Yuguda, for spending N10.3 billion on the annual salary of about 600 staff.

The panel also directed the agency to unfailingly remit N300 million into the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF) by next Thursday.

The directive was given at the final day of the public hearing on the 2021-2023 Medium Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper.

It was sequel to the DG’s submission on revenue projections for the 2021 budget where he said out of N4 billion revenue generated by SEC in 2019, only N86.835 million was remitted into the CRF.
He also said for the workforce in the commission to be reduced, the severance package of those to be laid off has to be paid.

The chairman of the committee, Adeola Olamilekan, who frowned at the DG’s submissions, noted that spending over N10 billion for salaries of 600 staff shows that each of the staff of the agency collects an average of N15.7 million annually, which he said is not sustainable.

This is even as he mandated the SEC to remit N1 billion to the Consolidated Account next year to fund the budget deficit.

“The DG said the SEC generated a total revenue of N8.3 billion in 2019 while it is expecting only N5.4 billion and projecting N8.3 billion in 2021.

“SEC should not pay less than N1 billion to the CRF account in 2021. You have a staff strength of 600 and a wage bill of N10.3 billion annually, amounting to N15.7million per person annually. You are indeed, top heavy. You have to work on this,” Mr Adeola said.

When asked for the commission’s performance index, the Accountant-General of the Federation (AGF), Ahmed Idris, described the N86.835 million remitted into CRF by SEC in 2019 from the N4 billion revenue generated as “grossly low.”

“The least of such remittances expected from the SEC from N4 billion revenue is N846 million, meaning that the agency owes the federal government N760 million,” he said.

The committee thereafter resolved that the SEC can be excluded from yearly budgetary allocations, being a self-financing agency. And the DG agreed that the commission be exited from capital votes.

The 2021-2023 MTEF/FSP was sent to the Senate on July 20 for consideration by President Muhammadu Buhari and was thereafter referred to the committee for consideration even while members are on recess.

The federal government, in the proposal, sought N12.6 trillion as aggregate budget for the 2021 fiscal year with a deficit of N5.16 trillion, partly financed by a total loan package of N4.28 trillion.

It also targets N481.4 billion as statutory transfers – also known as first line charge (a category into which the National Assembly budget falls) and N5.7 trillion as recurrent expenditure, N3.3 trillion for capital expenditure and N3.12 trillion for debt servicing.