Senate Knocks SEC Over N10.3bn Annual Wage Bill

The Senate on Tuesday faulted the N10.3bn being spent annually by the Securities and Exchange Commission on salaries.

The upper chamber said SEC was incurring deficit every year because it spent N10.3bn to pay the salaries of its 600 staff members.

It, therefore, directed the agency’s Director-General, Lamido Yuguda, to commence necessary measures to reduce the workforce.

The lawmakers gave the directive to Yuguda when he appeared before the Senate Joint Committee on Finance and National Planning, at the ongoing stakeholders’ interactive session on the 2021-2023 Medium-Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper.

The SEC boss had told the panel that the agency generated a total revenue of N8.36bn in 2019 while it was expecting only N5.478bn this year and N8.3bn in 2021.

The Chairman of the joint panel, Senator Solomon Adeola, asked the DG to remit at least N300m to the Consolidated Revenue Fund Account before Thursday next week.

A member of the panel, Senator Gabriel Suswam, queried SEC for projecting a total revenue of N8.3bn in 2021 while its expenditure was put at N14.4bn.

He said the implication of that was that it would have a deficit of N6.1bn.

He said, “You said you are top-heavy. Now, there are lots of young men who are on the street who are qualified and ready to work.

“The salary of just one person from the top-heavy management staff that you have can pay five young people who have the qualifications and capacity to do the job. When you generate N8bn and incur a deficit of N6.1bn, it is as good as your organisation does not exist.”

Adeola, therefore, said SEC should not pay less N1bn to the consolidated revenue fund account in 2021.

He said, “SEC, you have a staff strength of 600 and a wage bill of N10.3bn annually, amounting to N15.7m per person. You are indeed top-heavy. You have to work on this.”

The DG SEC, however, said reducing the top-heavy workforce would mean that the severance package of those to be laid off had to still be paid from its revenue.

Meanwhile, the joint panel has directed the Accountant General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris, to probe the financial transactions of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps with a view to ascertaining whether it was operating any secret account.

The Co-Chairman, of the joint panel, Senator Olubunmi Adetunmbi, had asked the Commandant General to account for the funds that NSCDC realises from sold confiscated items and executive services being rendered by its operatives.

Adetunmbi said, “What happens to the revenue which the NSCDC is getting from the services being rendered by the operatives of the agencies whenever they were hired by private individuals.

“We also want to know what happens to confiscated items during operations.”

The NSCDC CG said only allowances were paid to the operatives where the services were being rendered.

He also said confiscated items were usually auctioned after being valued by the Ministry of Works.

The Chairman, of the panel therefore directed the Accountant General of the Federation to carry out a status enquiries on the NSCDC.

He said, “We need to know the true position of things. You will need to appear again before the panel next week and we would mandate the Accountant General of the Federation to carry out a status enquiry on the activities of the NSCDC as far as revenue is concerned.”

The AGF said there were differences between money which accrued to an agency and an incidental money that would come to it from time to time.

He said, “We need to find out into which account the NCDC does remit revenues for confiscated items to.”

The panel also directed the NSCDC to review upward its fees and levies it usually collects from private guard operators.

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