Stories: Simon Ejembi
The Securities and Exchange Commission on Wednesday announced the inauguration of an e-dividend portal to ease the dividend payment process and solve the problem of unclaimed dividends.
The Director-General, SEC, Mr. Mounir Gwarzo, who announced the development at a news briefing in Lagos, said the portal was inaugurated on Tuesday at the second quarter meeting of the Capital Market Committee.
According to him, the e-dividend portal was developed in partnership with the Central Bank of Nigeria and the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System.
Gwarzo, who said unclaimed dividends in the country amounted to between N70bn and N80bn, explained that in order to ensure that the portal served its purpose, there would be massive public enlightenment about it as well as training for registrars about how to use it.
The Head, Business Process, NIBSS, Mr. Samuel Olukemi, explained that the portal was designed in line with the decision of the SEC and stakeholders in the capital market that unclaimed dividends would not be tolerated.
He said, “The use of this portal ensures that no investor would be charged for mandate validation, it also enables payment of dividends not only into current accounts as previously done but also into savings accounts held by investors. Dormant accounts would also be able to receive dividends but would require reactivation in other to enable withdrawals.”
Olukemi explained that the e-dividend process required the filling of a mandate form with appropriate information on bank details; shareholders account number (from the registrar); clearing house number (from the Central Securities Clearing System) and bank verification number.
On dematerialisation of share certificiates, Gwarzo said the processes related to it were expected to be completed by December this year, stressing that the SEC was working with stakeholders to achieve the goal.
He disclosed that 17 out of the 22 registrars operating in the capital market had complied fully with the dematerialisation.
He added that the commission had directed the registrars to inform shareholders to choose stockbroking firms in preparation for the dematerialisation.
Gwarzo, who warned that the SEC would take tougher actions against operators found guilty of infractions, explained that the commission had closed its zonal offices in Kaduna, Ibadan and Onitsha to streamline and strengthen its operations.
He also insisted that the SEC would not shift the September 30 deadline for the recapitalisation of market operators.
He said, “A committee from the Nigerian Stock Exchange and the CSCS is already working towards that deadline and in the next two to three weeks, we will know those that will meet the target. The committee is up and doing, having only two weeks to conclude the process.”
On the 10-year capital market master plan, the SEC DG said the commission had already set up an advisory council that would review the report and make amendments where necessary.
He said, “We have the list of advisory council and the CMC has given us the mandate to select 10 to 12 people and very soon, we will come out with the list.”
He stressed that the council’s work was purely advisory, adding that it would interface with the judiciary and parliamentary as well as with those working on initiatives to be implemented under the master plan.
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Source : Punch