N90 billion unclaimed dividend: Shareholders, CBN, SEC disagree
By Francis Etuko, Abuja.
Shareholders have pitched their tent against the Central bank of Nigeria and the Security and Exchange Commission, SEC over suggestions that 90 billion naira unclaimed dividends be put in a special Trust Fund that will be over sighted by SEC.
Various shareholders associations gave their position when they appeared before the Senator Isiaka Adeleke-led Senate committee on Capital Market Development.
The Senate held a one day stakeholder’s public hearing on the need to determine the status of unclaimed N90 Billion dividends in Securities For Nigerian Investors,
At the occasion with representatives from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC), and some shareholders associations in the country, the Director General of SEC, Munir Gwarzo stressed that it was not the duty of the commission to manage funds for shareholders and it will not be a good idea to give Chartered registrars at the Chartered Institute of Capital Market the responsibility because their duty is to train prospective Chartered registrars operating in the industry, and not to manage funds.
‘‘Registrars are not fund managers, International best practice is to have a Trust fund managed by Trust Fund Managers, it is not the duty of registrars to manage funds’’
A representative from the Central bank of Nigeria, D.J Eyamfa said that the CBN does not involve in corporate banking. “We only provide services for the federal government, there is no way the central bank will manage a trust fund’’
Other stakeholders who spoke during the one day event include a representative of the Ibadan zonal Shareholders Association, Sir Shola Abodurin, who supported the setting up of a Trust Fund however suggested that the 12 year ban on unclaimed dividends be lifted.
His words ‘‘ Let us create the unclaimed dividends funds trust, the BOT should be made to comprise fund managers and shareholders that are credible’’
Mr. Oderinde Taiwo who represents the National Association of Proactive Shareholders of Nigeria said his association represents Nigeria in the Global Association of Investors, adding that during a visit to Milan, Italy in 2015 for the global conference, the country was advised to tackle the issue of unclaimed dividends creatively.
‘’Unclaimed dividends is not a new phenomenon, we don’t want a Special Trust Fund, we recommend that the two committees of the national assembly of capital market should instruct SEC to set up a listed company to be called ‘‘Unclaimed Dividends Investment Company.’’
‘‘It will deepen the market. The issue of setting up a special trust fund will attract so much litigation’’