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Finance Act 2020: FG can borrow from unclaimed dividends and dormant account balances

With the signing of the Finance Act 2020 into law recently, FG can now borrow from the unclaimed dividends and dormant bank account balances.

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The Finance Act 2020 recently signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari clearly provides that the federal government can borrow from the unclaimed dividends and dormant account balances under the Unclaimed Funds Trust Fund.

The funds are made available as a special debt owed by the federal government to the respective shareholders and the dormant bank account holders.

READ: COVID-19: Why banks would rather donate billions to FG than credit their customers’ account

According to the Finance Act,

  • Any unclaimed dividend of a public limited liability company quoted on the Nigerian Stock Exchange and any unutilised amounts in a dormant bank account maintained in or by a deposit money bank which has remained unclaimed or unutilised for a period of not less than six years from the date of declaring the dividend or domiciling the funds in a bank account shall be transferred immediately to the trust fund

However, the official bank accounts owned by the federal government, state government, local governments or any of their ministries, departments or agencies are specially exempted by the Act.

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READ: Active bank accounts in Nigeria surge to 111.5 million as COVID-19 drives account opening

What you should know

  • The borrowed funds by the FG shall be available for claim with the appropriate yield by the shareholders and the bank account holders at any time.
  • Failure by any company or deposit money banks (DMBs) to transfer such funds to the Unclaimed Funds Trust fund shall be considered as an offence and liable upon conviction to a fine of not less than five times the value of the funds plus accumulated interest on the amount not remitted to CBN, at the monetary policy rate.
  • The trust fund shall be supervised by the Debt Management Office (DMO) but governed by a governing council chaired by the Minister for Finance, with the co-chairperson from the private sector that is appointed by the president.
  • Such a person from the private sector shall be recommended by the Minister for Finance and duly confirmed by the Senate and must be of irreproachable integrity to serve in such capacity.
  • Other members of the Governing council include the CBN Governor, DG of Securities Exchange Commission, MD of NDIC, a representative of the Registrars of Companies, 2 representatives of the Shareholders Association, a representative of the Bankers Committee and DG of Debt management Office as the Secretary of the Trust Fund.

READ: AfDB board approves $10.4 billion borrowing plan for 2021

What this means

  • This means that the era of unclaimed dividends and dormant bank account balances is over.
  • There is no doubt that this would, to an extent, affect the deposit portfolios of some DMBs as quite a number of them are sitting tight on humongous float dormant account balances, at no cost to them.
  • Importantly, with these funds, it is expected that government would have more financial capacity to handle cost-intensive projects and infrastructural developments that would directly impact on the well beings of Nigerians if the funds are well utilized.

READ: Finance Minister, Heads, NNPC, DMO inspect Ajaokuta-Kano gas project

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Johnson is a risk management professional and banker with unbridled passion for research and writing. He graduated top of the class with B.sc Statistics from the University of Nigeria and an MBA degree with specialization in Finance from Ambrose Alli University Ekpoma, with fellowships from the Association of Enterprise Risk management Professionals(FERP) and Institute of Credit and Collections management of Nigeria (FICCM). He is currently pursuing his PhD in Risk management in one of the top-rated universities in the UK.

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Reps oppose school resumption date, ask for 3 months extension

The lower legislative chamber has flawed FG’s directive on public and private schools’ January 18, 2021 resumption date.

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NCC, MDA, SEEPCO, local content laws, CBN Cashless Policy: Reps eye policy reversal, court Emiefele approval , Lawmakers tackle Finance Minister over failed CCTV project worth $460 million , Former Ghanaian President, Mahama begs Buhari to open border Former President of Ghana, John Mahama has appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to open up its borders saying that Ghana has been heavily affected by Nigeria’s decision to close its borders. Mahama said that for economic activities to resume in West Africa, Nigeria needs to reconsider its decision on the total border closure. He made this plea while delivering the seventh anniversary lecture of investiture into The Realnews Hall of Fame and the unveiling of a book, titled: Pathways to Political and Economic Development of Africa. According to the former president as reported in The Nation, the closure of especially the Benin border, was taking a significant toll on many small and medium businesses, especially in Togo, Ghana and Cote D’Ivoire, which relied on inter-country trade. “I am sure that businesses in Nigeria that rely on supplies from these countries are also suffering. With the signing of the joint border task force agreement between Nigeria and her neighbours, I will like to take this opportunity to appeal to Nigeria to open up her border so that economic activities can resume,” Mahama said. While reacting to the shut down of shops owned by Nigerians by the Ghana Union of Traders’ Association (GUTA) as retaliation to the border closure, Mahama said; “Back home in Ghana, I also look forward to our government’s intervention that brings an immediate cessation to the forceful and illegal closure of shops of foreigners, especially Nigerians, by members of the local trade associations”. Mahama who is a former Chairman of the Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS) spoke on how he still has an abiding interest in the progress of ECOWAS and its people. In this light, he said that Nigeria being the home of ECOWAS and the largest economy in West Africa should not allow the objective principles for establishment of ECOWAS to be lost. Meanwhile, the Vice Chancellor of Niger Delta University, Bayelsa State, Prof. Samuel Edoumiekumo, advised President Muhammadu Buhari not to yield to pressure to reopen the borders. Edoumiekumo who was also present at the lecture said President Buhari should remain firm in his resolve to ensure economic growth and the country’s development as the border closure will generate more revenue for the nation and tackle smuggling., Nigerians are enraged as lawmakers reject Innoson cars for latest Toyota Camry , FMBN ex-MD ordered to refund his salary, submit FMBN accounts over infractions

The House of Representatives has moved against the Federal Government’s directive that schools should resume on Monday, January 18, despite the rising cases of the coronavirus disease.

The lower house, while expressing its concern, wondered why schools were closed when the infection rates were around 500 and below, but now that it hovers well above 1000 infections daily, schools are being reopened.

This disclosure is contained in a statement titled, “School Resumption: Are We Truly Prepared?” which was issued by the Chairman, House Committee on Basic Education and Services, Prof. Julius Ihonvbere, on Saturday, January 16, 2021.

Ihonvbere in his statement said that public enlightenment campaigns have more or less stopped, as merely saying that protocol would be adhered to is no guarantee with the situation even being worse in rural areas.

The house, therefore, demanded for the postponement of resumption of schools by 3 months, if some critical steps are not taken, so as to enable the local and state governments put things in place adequately.

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He said that apart from Lagos and a couple of other states, governments have been unable to enforce Covid-19 protocols with people no longer wearing facemasks or use sanitisers, especially in secondary schools. There are no facilities for effective social distancing in the classrooms.

Ihonvbere said they have not heard how the schools would address the issues of introduction of morning and afternoon batches into the schools when they reopen to reduce overcrowding, special cleaning crews with sufficient sanitisers in classrooms, insisting on facemasks and sanitisers for the students and others.

What Prof. Ihonvbere is saying

The statement from the House partly reads,

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  • The Committee on Basic Education and Services, House of Representatives, has received with concern the decision of the Federal Government to reopen schools on January 18, 2021.
  • “We are particularly concerned that when the infection rates hovered around 500 and under, schools were closed; but now that it hovers well above 1,000 infections daily, schools are being reopened. Why are we rushing to reopen schools without adequate verifiable and sustainable arrangements to protect and secure our children?
  • “Similarly, we acknowledge the argument that most young persons have not been as affected by Covid-19 and many are asymptomatic. Yet, it does not mean they have full immunity against the virus. We also know that they would be working and interacting with adult teachers, administrative workers and other persons that do not live within the institutions.
  • ‘’People no longer wear facemasks or use sanitisers. Public enlightenment campaigns have more or less stopped. Merely saying they would adhere to the protocols is no guarantee. In rural areas, the situation is worse.
  • “Our position is that in spite of the very comprehensive protocols established by the Federal Ministry of Education, not up to 10 per cent of our educational institutions have implemented five per cent of the protocols. In most of our primary and secondary schools nationwide, adequate furniture, water and other sanitation and hygiene facilities do not exist.
  • “As a government that has committed to protecting the interests of the Nigerian people, it would be wrong to allow unprepared state governments, of which many did not take the pandemic too seriously anyway, to hoodwink or pressure it into this reopening game.
  • “The Committee believes that if these and other critical steps are not taken, there should be a postponement by three months to enable the local and state governments put things in place adequately. A word, they say, is enough for the wise.’’

What you should know

  • The Presidential Task Force (PTF) on Covid-19, a few days ago, insisted on the January 18 resumption date for schools until the Federal Ministry of Education advises otherwise.
  • The clarification became necessary following the earlier comment by the Minister for Education, Adamu Adamu, that government may review the resumption date following the outbreak of the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic across the country.

 

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FG announces mandatory NIN enrolment for foreign diplomats

The Federal Government has directed foreign diplomats in the country to also partake in the mandatory NIN registration.

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The Federal Government on Sunday announced the mandatory National Identity Number (NIN) enrolment for foreign diplomats in the country.

While making the announcement, the government said that approval has been gotten for the establishment of enrolment centre at the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs by January 19, 2021.

According to a press statement which was signed by the Technical Adviser (Information Technology) to the Minister for Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Femi Adeluyi, the special centre will be managed by his ministry.

Adeluyi, in the statement, disclosed that the Communications Minister, Isa Pantami, said the centre is being set up based on the request of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Geoffrey Onyeama.

He said that the enrolment centre will provide support for members of the diplomatic corps and will be managed by the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy through the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC).

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What the statement from the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy is saying

The statement reads, ” The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, has approved the setting up of a National Identity Number (NIN) enrolment centre at the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The desk will be set up by Tuesday, 19th of January, 2021.

“This enrolment centre will provide support for members of the Diplomatic Corps and will be managed by the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, through the National Identity Management Commission.

” The centre is being set up based on the request of the Honourable Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, in order to simplify the process for diplomats.

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“The National Identity Number is mandatory for diplomats who will reside in Nigeria for a continuous period of two years or more. It is also mandatory for all other lawful residents in the country as stated in Section 16 of the National Identity Management Commission Act 2007.’’

The statement also says that the compliance for NIN enrolment has been low until recently despite the Law making it mandatory for Nigerians and legal residents since 2007.

What you should know

  • It can be recalled that on December 15, 2020, the Federal Government had declared that after December 30, 2020, all SIMs that were not registered with valid NIN on the network of telecommunications companies would be blocked.
  • However, following public outcry against the short notice, it later extended December 30, 2020, giving 3 weeks’ extension for subscribers with NIN from December 30, 2020, to January 19, 2021, and a 6-week extension for subscribers without NIN from December 30, 2020, to February 9, 2021.
  • However, it yet to be seen if the deadline will be met with the large crowd that turn out every day at NIMC offices without being attended to

 

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PayVIS: New Lagos State platform to use traffic cameras to fine traffic offenders

Lagos State’s Vehicle Inspection Service has launched a technology-based initiative to track, monitor and book traffic offenders.

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The Lagos State Government has launched PayVIS, a number plate detection platform that captures vehicle offenders when they violate traffic laws and then bills them.

PayVIS is an initiative of the Lagos State Vehicle Inspection Service.

According to the information contained in the website of PayVis,

  • “PlateDetect is a Traffic analytics and access control application developed for Lagos State’s Vehicle Inspection Service to track, monitor, and book traffic offenders.”
  • “LASG VIS’s PlateDetect ensures that all vehicle documentation (vehicle license, Insurance policy, Roadworthiness certificate, Driver’s license, Hackney permit (Commercial vehicles only), Lagos State Drivers’ Institute card (Commercial vehicles) can be verified and tickets raised for violators.”

How it works

  • From an advert seen by Nairametrics, traffic cameras located beside traffic lights will capture traffic offenders without the presence of traffic officials.
  • The camera takes a photo shot of the vehicle’s plate number, and runs a scan of the vehicle’s records in the state’s database.
  • To detect whether you may have had a prior traffic offense, vehicle owners are to visit their website, type in their plate number and then click on search.
  • Once this is done, a bill is generated for any outstanding offense.

On its Facebook page, the Vehicle Inspection Service said that it will be showing an understanding of the current economic situation to exhibit fairness and good faith by offering a 50% rebate on existing unpaid fines from January 1 to 31st January 2021.

Offenders are advised to take opportunity of the period to pay up, as 100% penalty would be payable after the deadline.

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Watch the advert below:

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