sec (1)Unclaimed dividends sitting in the accounts of companies registrars has hit the N80 billion mark, Director-General of the Securities Exchange Commission, Mr. Mounir Gwarzo, has said.

He told the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, whom he visited in Abuja on Friday that the account kept swelling because the old system of payment of share dividends was cumbersome.

Gwarzo said the old practice of sending Dividend Warrants to retail investors to claim their dividends was no longer convenient, especially due to distance and, in some cases, the change of address, which made it difficult to trace many investors.

“We have been vigorously enlightening people on the Electronic Dividends where we have been telling investors to approach their banks so that they can download the form on the Electronic Dividends.

“Once they complete the form, dividends will be paid directly into their bank account,’’ he said.

The SEC Director-General solicited the assistance of the minister to give its SEC’s Master Plan of growing the Nigerian Capital Market.

He explained that the Plan had 101 initiatives which would impact positively on the number of companies enlisted in the market; market capitalisation and profitability.

Gwarzo appealed to government to encourage companies operating in the country to enlist in the Capital Market by providing some incentives for them.

He stressed that 60 per cent of corporate taxes paid in Nigeria were paid by listed companies.

Responding to Gwarzo’s remarks, the Minister commended SEC for its drive to promote transparency in the Capital Market.

He said the Federal Government was currently extending the transparency drive to state governments to ensure good governance and accountability.

“For instance, we have now said for any state to qualify for any sort of bailout or help, that state must meet 22 objectives and all are about transparency.

“For the first time in the history of Nigeria, we are now asking states to publish their audited accounts, budgets and they should let us know their Internally-Generated Revenues.

“This idea of transparency is the only thing that can drive the economy,’’ Mohammed said.

He pledged the support of the Ministry for the efforts by the Securities and Exchange Commission to publicise its Master Plan, currently under implementation.

Author: Cerebral Lemon