• Friday, March 01, 2024
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EFCC defends proposed 53% budget increase to N76.586b for 2024

The Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) on Tuesday appeared before the House of Representatives Committee on Financial Crime to defend N76.586 billion for the next financial year, 2024, representing 53.48 per cent increase above 2023 Appropriation of N49.901 billion.

The 53.48 percent is attributed to the increase in personnel cost from N36.834 billion to N37.074 billion in 2024.

According to the EFCC Chairman, Ola Olukoyede, while defending the budget, the capital projects executed in 2023 were 2022 capital rollover to 2023.

Olukoyede informed that the Commission has overhead cost from N10.535 billion to N14.513 billion in 2024, and capital cost from N2.531 billion to N25 billion in 2024 because of the expansive projects they are going to embark on.

He mentioned that under budgetary heads, the EFCC have the personnel, overhead and capital, saying the proposal for 2024, they have proposed N37.074 billion as against an envelope of the same amount N37.074bn.

“So, we still maintained the amount in the envelope, in personnel cost.

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“Under overhead, the envelope was N4.794bn, but we are proposing to this committee to help us, carry out our mandate, with the sum of N14.513 billion.

“Under our capital cost, we have an envelope of N1.241 billion, which will not do anything for us. Against that, we are proposing N25 billion as our capital cost.

“Of course, our operations keep expanding, and we also envisaged that we are going to bring in more staff in the year under review,” he said.

“Quite a number of our zonal offices are rented apartments, and of course, when you do this kind of work, it’s not expedient for you to operate in rented apartments.

“So, we intend to have our own buildings across our 14 zonal offices we operate outside Abuja.

“The request for additional overhead is because of the high cost of air travel tickets, motor vehicles costs, diesel cost, building maintenance, operational vehicles, office equipment, acquisition of our properties and maintenance of our operations in other 14 zonal commands apart from Abuja.

“In view of the above and many other considerations, I crave this distinguished Committee’s indulgence for a special consideration of our 2024 capital and overhead envelope for upward review,” he stated.

Earlier, the Chairman of the Committee, Ginger Onwucebe (LP, Abia state) lamented that as Financial Crime continue to evolve in sophistication and scale, posing a significant threat to the stability and growth of the economy.

Onwucebe said the challenges faced require not only vigilance but a strategic allocation of resources to empower the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) to effectively counteract illicit activities that undermine the nation’s economic well-being.

The Chairman confirmed that the budget the House are reviewing is not merely a set of figures but a reflection of their dedication to creating an environment where citizens can trust the financial institutions that drive the economic engine for growth and development.

“Allocating resources for international collaboration will enable us to share intelligence, coordinate efforts, and bring offenders to justice across jurisdictions.

“As we convene for this pivotal budget hearing, it is my honour to address the critical importance of our role in defending our financial landscape in collaboration with the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit, (NFIU). It is a pledge to provide the necessary resources to fortify our defences against financial crimes.”

“The decisions we make regarding the budget today will shape the trajectory of our financial defense strategy. Let us unite in our commitment to safeguarding our nation’s economic prosperity, recognizing that our collaboration with NFIU is instrumental in achieving our common goal” he said.