REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE, FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA, HIS EXCELLENCY, SENATOR (DR) ABUBAKAR BUKOLA SARAKI, AT THE PUBLIC HEARING OF THE SENATE COMMITTEE ON CAPITAL MARKET ON THE NEED TO DETERMINE THE STATUS OF UNCLAIMED N90 BILLION DIVIDENDS IN SECURITIES FOR NIGERIA INVESTORS AND THE CHARTERED INSTITUTE OF CAPITAL MARKET REGISTRAR’S (ESTABLISHMENT, ETC.) BILL 2016, HELD ON TUESDAY 7THMARCH, 2017.
1. It is my pleasure to welcome you all to this important occasion today of this Public Hearing organized by the Senate Committee on Capital Market on the status of the N90 Billion Naira Unclaimed Dividends in Securities for Nigerian Investors and on a Bill to give legislative framework for the Chartered Institute of Capital Market Registrars.
2. I am quite aware of the recent initiative of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), in introducing the e-dividend policy to ensure that accounts of investors are credited directly within Twenty-Four (24) hours after the declaration of the dividends by the companies.
3. However, the issue of unclaimed dividends remains quite critical as it has endangered the progress of the Nigeria Capital Market; an issue among others that has eroded our Investor’s confidence.
4. Investments in the area of shares have dropped abysmally and dividends accruing to investors have come to zero thereby discouraging a lot of new investors from buying shares. The attendant economic and social effects of this development can best be imagined.
5. It is therefore on this premise that the Senate at its Plenary Session on the 8th Day of November, 2016, considered and deliberated a motion moved by Senator Muhammad Shittu seeking the “Need to Determine the Status of Unclaimed N90 Billion Dividends in Securities for Nigerian Investors and the circumstances to which it was accumulated.
6. The Senate also mandated this Committee by way of the Senate Resolution, to ensure proper verification of the alleged unclaimed dividends, make recommendations which seeks to amend the Twelve (12) year ban on Unclaimed Dividends as provided for by section 383 of the Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA) 1990.
7. Distinguished Senators and invited stakeholders, we have also come here to add value and deliberate on a very important Bill which we hope will be of immense benefit to the Capital Market in Nigeria.
The Chartered Institute of Capital Market Registrars (Establishment, etc.) Bill was one of those Bills which was passed very late by both Chambers of the 7th National Assembly but never received Presidential assent. It is hoped that a quick passage of this Bill by this 8th National Assembly will expedite the process of gaining Presidential assent and becoming an Act of parliament.
8. It is to be noted that Capital Market exists to provide long-term capital to both the government and corporate bodies for industrial and socio-economic development and at the same time attract returns for investors by way of dividends. It is expected that a Chartered Institute of Capital Market Registrars will help set ethical standards and standard professional conduct for members including benchmark and best practices in Nigeria.
9. Finally, it is my hope that this Committee whose members were carefully selected will work closely with all stakeholders in this sector to bring back the past glory to the Capital Market. I have no doubt this this Committee will succeed in finding legislative antidotes to the challenges in this sector thereby strengthening the economy of this great nation.
10. Permit me to once again congratulate the Chairman and members of the Senate Committee on Capital Market and to wish them a successful deliberation.
11. God bless you all. God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE