The Director-General, Securities and Exchange Commission, Mr. Mounir Gwarzo, has urged investors in the capital market to register for the e-Dividend scheme, stating that the commission is committed to ensuring that they receive their unclaimed dividends, the value of which currently stands at N90bn
Gwarzo, who said this when the commission took its e-Dividend sensitisation campaign to Nyanyan, a suburb of the Federal Capital Territory, noted that once SEC completes the ongoing registration of investors, the next phase would be to ensure that the owners of the unclaimed dividends were paid their money.
A statement by the commission on Wednesday quoted the DG to have said, “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” he added.
Gwarzo described the decline being experienced in the stock market as normal, adding it was not peculiar to Nigeria alone.
“All over the world, within the emerging and developed markets, most of their markets closed on the negative last year. It is part of the trend in the market and you know that the economy all over the world is not in a good shape; oil price has gone down and commodity prices have gone down significantly, and all these are being reflected in the stock market,” he noted.