The House of Representatives, on Wednesday, expressed concern that unclaimed dividend in the country, will hit about N200billion by the end of the year.
The chairman, House Committee on Capital Market, Babangida Ibrahim, who stated this at an investigative hearing on “The Need to Investigate the Rising Value of Unclaimed Dividends, Unremitted Withholding Tax on Dividends and their Attendant Effects on Nation’s Economy,” said the development was worrisome.
Ibrahim, while stating that the development should be a source of worry to stakeholders, explained that the value of unclaimed dividends rose from N2.09 billion in 1999 to N158.44 billion at the end of 1999.
He noted that the rising unclaimed dividend is a huge challenge, as it has adverse implications on the economic development of the country, especially as it affects investors’ confidence in the capital market.
According to him, “We are aware of measures that have been taken by the capital market regulators in the past to address the problem but we can all see that the problem remains and in fact, the situation is worsening by the day. “Some of the measures include e-dividend, dematerialization of share certificates, a publication of names of owners of unclaimed dividends, etc. All these measures are very commendable especially the fact that they are primarily aimed at ensuring that the shareholders who are owners of the dividends get the benefits of their investment.
Meanwhile, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has stated that about N29 billion of unclaimed dividends have been claimed by investors through the introduction of regularisation of multiple accounts.
Director-General of the SEC, Mr. Lamido Yuguda stated this during an investigative hearing on the need to investigate the rising value of inclined dividends, unremitted withholding tax on dividends, and their attendant effects on the nation’s economy organized by the House of Representatives in Abuja, Wednesday.
The SEC had introduced the regularisation of multiple accounts in 2015 where it requested all shareholders with multiple accounts to harmonize their accounts by filing e-dividend mandate forms and submitting same to their banks or stockbrokers for onward transmission to their respective registrars The SEC DG said the Commission is seeking that the issue of unclaimed dividends is brought to an end due to the importance of dividends in maintaining and sustaining investments in the capital market.