Wednesday, 6th December 2023

Unclaimed dividend rises to N190 billion, says SEC 

By By Helen Oji (Lagos) and Anthony Otaru (Abuja)
26 August 2023   |   3:56 am
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced that the unclaimed dividend figure has risen to N190 billion from N170 billion recorded as at December 2020.


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The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced that the unclaimed dividend figure has risen to N190 billion from N170 billion recorded as at December 2020.

At a Virtual post Capital Market Committee (CMC) Meeting held yesterday, the Director General of the SEC, Lamido Yuguda, linked the rising figure to irregularities in identity management and multiple subscriptions from investors.

However, Yuguda stated that while the committee constituted by the SEC on identity management is working tirelessly to harmonise various databases of investors and facilitate data accuracy in the market, investors on their part have failed to claim their dividend.

According to him, the committee is expected to address the challenges of identity management and help tackle some of the issues of unclaimed dividends, direct cash settlement and multiple subscription.

Yuguda said: “The major issue causing rising unclaimed dividend is the owners not having access to them.”

As much as efforts are made by the regulators to ensure the figure is reduced, we keep putting efforts towards making sure that investors come forward to claim their dividend and update their account.

“This would help reduce the figure and ensure that future dividend and benefits get transmitted into the account quickly on a quarterly basis and every investor in the capital market is rightly accounted for to make our database more robust and help us in planning.”

He restated commitment towards ensuring that the commission strengthens its infrastructure base, noting that technology plays a major role in enabling the nation’s capital market attain its full potentials.

To this effect, he said the SEC has concluded arrangement to roll out a technology infrastructure that would help strengthen its regulatory function in the capital market by the beginning of 2024.

He re-mphasised the need for government to prioritise the market as the most reliable medium to finance critical infrastructure, which already, is severally identified as the most challenging factor in doing business in the country.

Yuguda stated that the capital market provides variety of financing instruments that would help to facilitate their respective infrastructure projects.

“We need to harness the capital market to fund critical infrastructure that will stand the test of time and prepare Nigeria for the kind of population being forecasted for the country. We are likely to have a surge in our population in the next 30 years.

“We need to make necessary investment in infrastructure so that Nigeria will be prepared to confront this demography so that the youth will also capitalise on this to remain in the country and the capital market is well positioned to play a role in this developmental match,” he said.

In a related development, Yuguda, while briefing journalists at the 2nd 2023 Capital Market Committee (CMC) meeting in Abuja, noted that 90 percent of the N190Bn unclaimed dividend is deposited with the payee companies while the remaining 10 percent could be traced to the registrars.

He noted that despite the challenges, the Commission recorded a remarkable 5.23 percent surge in market recapitalisation at the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NGX) soon as President Bola Ahmed Tinubu was sworn-in as Nigeria’s President in May, 2023, which was driven by optimistic anticipation of market reforms.

Yuguda, who doubles as the Chairman of the CMC meeting said, “We acknowledge the prevailing challenges arising from demanding macroeconomic conditions, constrained consumer spending and rising operational costs. Despite these challenges, there remains a shared sense of optimism that ongoing rigorous reforms will rejuvenate the nation’s economy.”

He emphasised the need for a resolute support of the Capital Market for the Federal government by navigating these challenges for the country’s brighter future.