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Senate tackles SEC over rising personnel cost

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The Senate has raised concern over the Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) excessive staff expenses, directing the Director-General, Mr Lamido Yuguda, to act quickly to prevent the agency from going bankrupt.

On Thursday, Mr Yuguda made a presentation before the Senate Joint Committees on the 2022-2024 Medium-Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and Fiscal Strategy (FSP) and he said the agency intends to generate N11.5 billion as revenue in 2021, with N10.2 billion for personnel costs.

This did not sit well with the legislators, particularly Solomon Adeola, a qualified accountant and politician from Lagos, who claimed that the regulating body for the nation’s capital market had spent N9 billion on its staff in the previous two years.

“Your personnel cost, your top profile takes about 70 per cent of total emolument of N9 billion, only 30 per cent go to lower cadre.

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“We should know what is happening. This is the second year you are coming with a deficit budget,” Adeola, who represents Lagos West Senatorial District at the National Assembly said.

Speaking further, he advised Yuguda to put in place strategies to cut the agency’s expenses, warning that if nothing was done, the commission could go bankrupt.

“This budget gives us a wrong impression about SEC. You are a regulator to businesses that are making money but you aren’t making money.

“You may need to look at how to regulate your personnel to generate money. You need to cut down on costs,” the member of the upper chamber of the parliament said.

In response, Yuguda blamed the COVID-19 pandemic and the market meltdown for low revenue, saying the management was working to improve its earnings.

But another Senator, Kashim Shettima, disagreed with the SEC DG, tasking him and his team to think out of the box and improve the revenue of the organisation, describing the personnel expenses as huge.

“In the next two years, you are going to go bankrupt. Right now, you are in deficit and except you come up with solutions, you are going to go insolvent and won’t be able to meet your needs.

“We are challenging you to go back to the drawing board and find solutions to your financial situation,” the former Governor of Borno State said.

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