The Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) has revealed that as of December 31, 2021, Nigerians’ unclaimed dividends hit a totaled N180 billion.
This was made known by Lamido Yuguda, director general of the SEC, on Tuesday, during an interactive session with editors. He stated that the commission is trying to guarantee that the percentage of unclaimed dividends is reduced to zero.
“This continues to be an important area of concern for the commission and we have been engaged in tackling it in the capital market,” noted the SEC director-general.
Despite the significant sum of N180 billion in unclaimed dividends, Mr. Yuguda asserted that it made up just 5% of the total dividends announced in the stock market.
“That is a large amount. But when you compare that with the total amount of dividends declared in the Nigerian capital market, these unclaimed dividends amount to about 5% of the total amount of dividends declared,” Mr Yuguda pointed out.
“Although, 5% is still not the ideal number, it should be zero per cent. Every person, who has come to the capital market and invested money, should be able to get his dividends as and when due.”
He claims that in order to solve the problem of unclaimed dividends, the SEC is collaborating with the Central Securities Clearing System (CSCS) and other industry stakeholders.
“The SEC has been working with CSCS, registrars and the stockbrokers to make sure that every market appraisal makes it easy for the clients to fill their mandate form. We are also making sure that investors continue to get their dividends,” Mr Yuguda explained.
The SEC boss highlighted how last year, the federal government took action by passing a financial act regarding unclaimed dividends.
“The government is looking at unclaimed monies both in the capital market and the banking system and established a fund that will actually access through dividends that have been unclaimed for a certain number of years that meet certain basic definitions.”
He added, “It is not that the government has taken over the money, but when the claimants eventually surface, there is a system for recovering. Every person who has come to the capital market and invested money should be able to get his dividends as and when due.”