Written by Sarah NEGEDU

SEC to facilitate payment of N90bn unclaimed dividend

Investors in the Nigerian capital market have been urged to register for the e-dividend scheme so as to facilitate the smooth payment of the over N90billion dividends presently left unclaimed.

At a recent campaign to raise awareness over unclaimed dividend, the Securities and Exchange Commission, SEC, said the e-dividend scheme is set to address the challenges associated with unclaimed dividends.

Director-General of the commission, Mounir Gwarzo, who led the e-Dividend campaign team to Nyanya-Abuja, said SEC is committed to ensuring that investors receive all unclaimed dividends to the last kobo, immediately after completion of its ongoing registration of investors.

“The e-dividend is very important because I believe it is going to be a major game changer; it is an issue we have had since the inception of this market whereby people buy shares and are unable to claim their dividends either because the warrants become stale, they change addresses or are living in an area that is quite far.

“And it (claiming it) will take more than what the dividend warrant is worth and they will not want to go and collect it. One of the things we are doing, once we are through with the registration, is to see how those huge unclaimed dividends can be verified and paid to the owners.

“You know there is a limitation of the law that says after 12 years, you cannot claim. But those that are below 12 years, once people have registered and they are able to show proof that they are the owners of those dividends, they should be able to claim that part of the unclaimed dividends.”

Gwarzo explained that the reason why the commission chose densely populated areas for the sensitisation campaign was because a high level of unclaimed dividends belonged to retail holders and those with small holdings.

“Somebody that has N1m or N500, 000 worth of dividends will certainly find a way to claim it. So, it is the N2, 000, N3, 000 dividends that people have not been claiming that have accumulated to this level. That is why strategically, SEC focused on this enlightenment programme.”

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