By Darasimi Adebisi
Following comments attributed to the Nigerian Senate that the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) was gradually becoming insolvent and could go bankrupt very soon, Director-General, of the SEC, Mr. Lamido Yuguda has disclosed that the Commission as at the end of June 2021 remitted about N1.5billion to federal government treasury.
In a statement, the SEC boss noted that the commission has been paying 25 per cent of gross revenues into the coffers of government.
He, however, unveiled plans to reduce its operating costs in order to boost profitability within the next two years.
While admitting that the commission has been operating under very difficult circumstances since it is currently superintending over a market that was affected by the negative impact of the coronavirus pandemic, he assured that steps are being taken to reverse the fortunes of the SEC.
He said: “If we go through the Medium-Term Expenditure Framework which we started last year, if we look at 2022 and 2023, you will see that we have worked on our expenditure so that by 2023, the deficit will actually turn into a surplus of N1.23billion and by 2024 we should have N2.5billion surplus.
“We therefore need the support of all to engineer the kind of transition we are thinking of at the SEC and that 30 per cent which is taking most of the staff cost is part of the set we are targeting for the early retirement programme.
“There is a lot of interest within the Commission to do it but we are really short of the funds to do it now. We have done a lot of revenue rising drives just to ensure that the Commission stays on track.This is something we are mindful of and we have the intent and capacity to deliver on this.”
On the high overhead costs, the SEC DG explained that this is being reduced aggressively.
Yuguda said, “It has reduced because we have since we came, aggressively looked at the overhead and staff cost and reduced certain components of our staff pay that has generated over N2billion of savings as at now. If you take the MTEF numbers, as you go forward, you find that by 2024 staff cost reduces to only N5.88billion. So that is the trajectory that we are working on.”
To shore up the resources of SEC, he said the Commission has approached a number of institutions like the African Development Bank, Financial Sector Development Africa and a number of other donors.
This, he said, is expected to fetch a grant figure of N3.84 billion, adding that more grant is being expected in the near term to boost operations.
He added, “The truth of the matter is that not only for the sake of cutting down on the cost of the SEC, when we came last year, we discovered there has been no IT investment in the SEC for over a decade.
“So, our IT infrastructure is now obsolete so we have to renew that. And given this difficulty, we could only do that by going out and looking for grant and thankfully we have gotten very positive feedback. But this grant is only going to address investment in IT infrastructure.
“We are working hard to ensure we deliver, from 2023 the tide will begin to change and that is because of the massive efforts that we have made both on the revenue front and on the cost front.”