Some capital market experts, represented by the Chairman of the Association of Securities Dealing Houses of Nigeria, have rejected plans by the Federal Government of Nigeria to manage unclaimed dividends – which is projected to hit N200bn by the end of this year, according to a report by Punch.
The Chairman, Association of Securities Dealing Houses of Nigeria, Onyenwechukwu Ezeagu, explained that capital market regulators and operators had leveraged technology to put in place many initiatives to address the issue of unclaimed dividends. Some of these initiatives include de-materialization of shares, which entails upload of quoted companies share in the Central Securities Clearing System for ease of reconciliation, adoption of e-dividend and e-mandate, consolidation of multiple accounts, identity management engagements, and introduction of electronic Initial Public Offering.
(READ MORE: Nigeria needs $5billion for National Broadband Plan – Chairman, BISC)
What they are saying
Commenting on the recent development, Mr. Ezeagu said, “Generally, the incentives for savers and capital providers in the capital market is the expectation of dividends and capital appreciation.
“It is, therefore, our considered view that the proposed legislation, if passed, will be a great disincentive to savings, long-term capital mobilization, and serious disruption of the Nigerian economy, since it will take away the only expectation of investors in the market.”
Corroborating him, the President, Chartered Institute of Stockbrokers, Mr. Olatunde Amolegbe, said the Securities and Exchange Commission would always ensure the transfer of unclaimed dividends to the capital reserves of the company for restricted utilization, such as capital expansion and issuance of bonus shares to the company’s shareholders.
What you should know
Nairametrics had earlier reported that some law makers (Reps) raised alarm over N200 billion unclaimed dividends in 2020. In lieu of this perceived need, a proposal for the creation of an unclaimed dividend and utilized bank balance trust fund was emphasized in the 2020 Finance Bill — wherein, dividends declared and unclaimed would be warehoused and owed as a perpetual debt to shareholders.