The Commission asked the National Assembly to almost double its allocation of N43billion for 2024 so it can have more money for the expansion of its operations and to cater for the rising cost of living of personnel
Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr. Ola Olukayode, has said the commission intends to construct buildings to accommodate the operation of its zonal officers across the country.
The EFCC boss disclosed this at the budget hearing with the House of Representatives Committee on Financial Crimes on Tuesday, December 2, justifying why it wants more money in 2024.
The EFCC also wants to be able to take care of the rising personnel cost, and needs its budgetary allocation increased from N43.109 approved by the Budget Office to N76.586 billion.
The requetsed budget for 2024 is over 50 per cent higher than what the Commission got in the previous year’s budget.
According to Mr. Olukayode, the increase is caused by the rising standard of living, increased personnel cost and the need to expand the operations of the commission.
“This is due to some of the expansive projects we are going to embark on. Quite a number of offices are located in rented apartments. And you, when you are doing this kind of work, it is unsafe to operate in rented apartments,” he said, adding: “The request for additional cost for overhead is due to the high cost of living, maintenance of operational vehicles, acquisitions of properties and maintenance of operations in all our 14 zonal offices. We are going to work in collaboration with the committee step by step. Monthly, quarterly, we have adopted strategies that allow us to adequately implement the budget, if the committee gives it approval.”
In its breakdown of the N76.586 billion, N37.073 is proposed for personnel cost, N14.513 billion for overhead and a capital component of N25.000 billion. This is in contrast to the allocated N37.074 for personnel, N4.794 billion for overhead, and N1.241 billion for capital made by the Budget Office.
Chairman of the House Committee on Financial Crimes, Rep. Ginger Obinna Onwusibe (LP, Abia), said the evolving nature of financial crimes necessitates a continuous investment in the personnel of the EFCC. “By providing comprehensive training programs, we equip our teams with the expertise needed to navigate complex financial investigations and ensure a swift and effective response to illicit activities,” he said.
The chairman, however, indicated that the core considerations for the commission are information sharing and collaboration, capacity-building and training, technology and innovation, and international cooperation.
Also speaking, Hon Nnamdi Ezechi ( PDP, Delta) expressed concern about the low budget allocated to the commission, saying increasing the budget is mandatory to help the commission function effectively. “This budget might not be enough for the EFCC, especially if we want them to work effectively. From what I see, the commission will need more than this to carry out its role.”
Similarly, another member of the committee, Hon Peter Akpanle (PDP, Cross River), said the commission must have more money for a good capital allocation to function. “The EFCC must have capital allocation and releases, it would be bad to say you are fighting corruption but you don’t have capital releases,” he said.
Other officials of the EFCC present at the hearing are Ahmed Pate, the commission’s director of finance, Femi Gbarufu, director of administration and human resources, and Hamman Joda, the EFCC secretary.
Recall that the President, Bola Tinubu had presented the 2024 appropriation bill the National Assembly last Wednesday, November 29.
Following, the House conducted the budget debate on Thursday and Friday before suspending plenary sessions from December 5 to commence budget defence at the committee level.