Senate seeks improved budgetary provision for SEC

The Senate has called for improved budgetary provision for the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The upper chamber said that the N22.40 billion for the commission's 2024 budget was inadequate given the important role the commission plays in the nation's prosperity. The Chairman of the Senate Committee on Capital Market, Sen. Osita Izunaso, made the call on Tuesday when the Director-General of SEC, Dr Emomotimi Agama, appeared before the committee to defend the commission's 2024 budget. Izunaso expressed dissatisfaction that the budget was too small to enable the commission carry out its statutory functions. 'The SEC is regulating a lot things. The budget is too small. Something has to be done. You have to regulate cryptocurrency. Cryptocurrency alone should be able to give you a lot of money,' he said. Izunaso also tasked the commission on financial literacy calling on the management to provide an item in the budget to deal with financial literacy. 'There should be an item in the budget to deal with financial literacy because Nigerians need to be informed. 'You are aware that people have lost confidence in the capital market, in stock because of what happened in the past. 'So, there is the need to regain that confidence. Financial literacy is extremely important,' Izunaso said. Agama while giving the budget estimate said that the commission had a budgetary estimate of N22.40billion for the 2024 fiscal year. He said that out of the figure, N11.72 billion was for the total staff cost, while N1.22 billion would be for retirees' funds scheme. 'N6.74 billion is for other recurrent expenditure, while capital expenditure was projected at N1.18 billon,' he said. He said that the total expenditure stood at N20.85 billion, while surplus and deficit was N1.55 billion. Agama note that the commission in 2023, attempted to improve its revenue base with the introduction of various strategies to shore up funds. He said the commission had in the last two years attempted to reduce its staff strength. Agama said that 'we are very top-heavy at SEC.' 'We hardly have the middle level staff to do some of the desk work that we ordinarily should do. 'We have a staff strength of 353 in a commission that takes care of over 200 million persons. That is grossly inadequate for us to be able to do our work very well. 'It is our desire to be able to improve on that staff level by providing enough desk offices that will work round the clock to make sure that the investors are properly taken care of,' he said. Source: News Agency of Nigeria