SEC risks liquidation as Commission records N12.37 bn budget deficit in three years

By Ignatius Okorocha

The Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) may liquidate by 2023 following revelations by the Director General, Lamido Yuguda.

The DG at an interactive session with members of the Senate Committee on Finance, National Planning, Foreign and Local Debt; Banking, Insurance, and other Financial Institutions; Petroleum Resources (Upstream), Down Stream; Petroleum Sector & Gas; disclosed that the agency has been operating a deficit budget over the years.

Yuguda also revealed that from January 2021 to June 2021, the Commission realized a revenue portfolio of N11.6 billion, while recording a total expenditure of N16.67 billion, leaving behind a balance of N5.17 billion.

He said that the situation was caused by a market meltdown and the Covid-19 pandemic.

According to him, SEC is overburdened by a staff strength of 544 including pension for retired officers, and a personnel cost of N10.322 billion.

He stressed that since June 2020 SEC has been paying 25 per cent of its Gross revenue of N 1.5 billion to the national treasury.

The SEC DG who claimed that the Commission has an investment portfolio of N6 billion with the Treasury Single Account including ownership of Government Treasury Bills, could however not provide explanations on the sources of the monies used by the Commission to fund its budget deficit.

In his remarks, the Chairman of the Committee on Finance, Sunday Adeola (APC Lagos State) criticized the commission’s unsubstantiated budget remarks, condemning the DG’s inability to provide proof showing how SEC funds the budget gap.

Adeola noted “that in the last three years the personnel cost has been on the increase. Your salary profile, your top half of the profile is talking about 70% of total emolument of N9 billion, only 30% go to lower cadre. We should know what is happening. This is the second year you are coming with a deficit budget.”

A member of the Committee, Senator Tokunbo Abiru (Lagos East) lamented that the returns generated by the commission “is way below its expenditures.”

He pointed out that “as a regulator to businesses making profit and you’re not making profit, it is a challenge.”

According to him, “in 2019 you have a deficit of 2.9 billion, 2020 you have 4.3 billion and the returns you are getting from these investment securities are way below what can fund it. So it is either you are borrowing money somewhere to fund these operations which I honestly think is not the best thing to do.”

So, I think that part of what you should be thinking of is how do you right-size your operations within the limit of the revenue that you can generate.”

Contributing to the debate, former Borno State governor and a member of the Committee, Senator Kashim Shettima lamented that “in the next two years you are going to go bankrupt. Right now you are in deficit and unless you come up with solutions you will become insolvent; incapable of honouring your obligations.

He urged the DG to think outside the box and stop proffering excuses.

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