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Published On: Thu, Jun 26th, 2014

SEC to partner CBN to end unclaimed dividend

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From Ngozi Onyeakusi, Lagos

The Director General, Securities &Exchange Commission (SEC) Ms Arunma Oteh yesterday, assured that the commission is working to ensure that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) directs all the banks to allow retail investors to have their dividend paid in both savings and current account. This, according to her will put an end issues surrounding unclaimed dividend in the nation’s capital market. The assurance came even as the Central Securities Clearing System (CSCS) also announced that the template for the dematerialization of share certificates has been prepared, waiting for the take-off of the process.

Dematerialization is the process of converting paper certificates into electronic format, after which official records of shareholders of all listed companies shall be held and maintained by the CSCS.

Briefing the journalists at the Capital Market Committee (CMC) quarterly meeting, held in Lagos, Oteh stated “CBN has done well in monetary policy and the apex bank will also support the real sector

when the time comes. We welcome the agenda the new CBN governor has articulated and it is important we work closely with the apex bank to allow retail investors to have their dividend in savings and current account.”

According to her, the dematerialisation of share certificates, which would not only guide against certificates lost, but would aid in stamping out certificate forgery has also received a boost, as the

committee set up for the project has come up with recommendations, adding that the project team is currently working on the report. “There would be data migration issues but we would address that. The process will also cover unlisted companies that trade on the OTC market as well”

Earlier, the President/Chairman of Council of the Institute of Capital Market Registrars (ICMR), Bayo Olugbemi explained that shareholders have received over N1 trillion in dividends from companies in the last 10 years, disclosed last Friday. He said out of the N1 trillion only 5.05 per cent or N50.936 billion remained as unclaimed dividends as at the end December 31, 2013.

He noted that efforts by regulators and registrars have drastically reduced the level of unclaimed dividends in the nation’s capital market, compared to years back when the level used to be in the region of 24 per cent.

Olugbemi said although the volume may appear huge, considering the value of dividends being currently declared by companies compared to 10 years ago, the N50 billion indicates a commendable improvement. Speaking the elimination of stamp duties and VAT on stock market

transaction fees, Oteh said: “government is still gazetting. We had meeting with the Minister for Finance and she said work is going on to complete the process.”

 

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