The Fiscal Policy Reforms Committee has urged Nigerians with unclaimed dividends and dormant account balances not more than 6 years old, to commence the process of claiming them.
This was disclosed by Mr. Bode Oyetunde, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Finance and Fiscal Matters and Secretary of the committee at the Finance Act 2020 Stakeholder Engagement webinar, on Thursday.
The Committee urged Nigerians to begin the process, as concerns have been raised over the FG’s plans to borrow funds from unclaimed dividends and dormant account balances through the Debt Management Office (DMO).
“If you have bank balances and unclaimed dividends that are not six years and above, this has no implication on you,” he said.
“If you have unclaimed dividends in a company, that is not a public limited one listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange, you have no issue. If you do, you can start the process of taking back your unclaimed dividends and if it is a bank balance, go and get your bank balances.
“All these will be done in consultation with the bankers’ committee, CBN and the banks for the unclaimed bank balances and unclaimed dividends, registrars, Securities and Exchange Commission, other regulatory bodies,” Oyetunde added.
He stated that the FG would be transparent with the dividends raised for budget funding, citing that Nigeria’s Sovereign debt management would never be placed in private hands as it is the sole responsibility of the FG.
“Sovereign Debt Management is the responsibility of the minister responsible for finance, and it is the responsibility of government. There is nowhere in the world, I am aware of, where Sovereign Debt Management is ceded to the private sector.
“We have the DMO established by law, and it is supposed to be the minister responsible for finance that will handle his or her duties in the emergence of any debt, and in terms of management of the funds that will be operated by the DMO,” he said.
What you should know
- Recall Nairametrics reported last month that the Finance Act 2020 signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari recommended that the Federal Government could borrow from unclaimed dividends and dormant account balances under the Unclaimed Funds Trust Fund.
- The House Committee on Capital Markets and Institutions raised an alarm over the growing unclaimed dividends in the capital market, projected to cross the N200 billion mark at the close of 2020.
- The Nigerian Senate has ruled out the use of unclaimed dividends to fund the 2021 Budget.
- Shareholders under the Independent Shareholders Association of Nigeria (ISAN) have rejected the establishment of unclaimed dividend trust fund proposed in the Finance Bill 2021.
- Some capital market experts have also rejected the plan by the Federal Government of Nigeria to manage unclaimed dividends.