Nigeria: Senate Urges Increased Budget for Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)

Senate Urges Increased Budget for Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)
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The Senate has called for increased budgetary provisions for the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), arguing that the current allocation of ₦22.40 billion for the 2024 budget is insufficient given the critical role the commission plays in the nation’s economic growth.

Sen. Osita Izunaso, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Capital Market, made this appeal on Tuesday during a session where SEC’s Director-General, Dr. Emomotimi Agama, presented the commission’s 2024 budget.

Izunaso expressed concerns that the allocated budget is too small for the SEC to effectively fulfill its regulatory responsibilities. He emphasized the extensive scope of SEC’s oversight, including the regulation of emerging financial instruments such as cryptocurrency, which he believes could significantly boost the commission’s revenue.

“The SEC is responsible for regulating a wide range of financial activities. The current budget is insufficient. We must enhance the budget to ensure effective regulation, especially in areas like cryptocurrency, which has the potential to generate substantial revenue,” Izunaso stated.

He also urged the commission to prioritize financial literacy, suggesting that the budget include specific provisions for educational initiatives. “There should be a dedicated budget item for financial literacy because it is crucial for restoring public confidence in the capital market and stocks, which has been shaken by past events,” Izunaso added.

During his presentation, Dr. Agama outlined the budgetary needs of the SEC for the 2024 fiscal year, highlighting that the ₦22.40 billion allocation includes ₦11.72 billion for total staff costs and ₦1.22 billion for retirees’ funds. Additionally, ₦6.74 billion is earmarked for other recurrent expenditures, with capital expenditure projected at ₦1.18 billion.

Agama noted that the total projected expenditure stands at ₦20.85 billion, resulting in a surplus of ₦1.55 billion. He mentioned that the SEC has implemented various strategies over the past two years to enhance its revenue base and reduce staff costs. Despite these efforts, the commission faces challenges due to an imbalance in staffing levels, with a significant number of senior staff but insufficient mid-level personnel to handle essential tasks.

“We currently have a staff strength of 353 to oversee a nation of over 200 million people. This is grossly inadequate for us to perform our duties effectively. We aim to bolster our staff levels to ensure better investor services and regulatory oversight,” Agama explained.

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