Shareholders’ in the nation’s capital market at the weekend renewed their call for the National Assembly (NAS) to expunge the clause (statues bar) on the Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA), which prohibits shareholders from claiming dividend after 12 years.
The shareholders, who expressed regrets on the increasing level of unclaimed dividend in the market, stressed the need for Federal Government to review the CAMA law, which says that unclaimed dividends would be reverted to companies after 12 years.
They however maintained that if the law is amended in such a way that investors are allowed to claim their dividend at any giving time no matter the number of years, the issue of unclaimed dividend in the Nigerian capital market would become a thing of the past.
The law guarantees a 12-year statute of limitation on unclaimed dividends, after which the fund is ploughed back into the company that declared the dividend. But the shareholders argued that the money belongs to them, and does not need interference from any party.
The Director-General, Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Dr Abdul Zubair, while addressing participants at the maiden edition of ‘Dividend Payment Awards For Nigeria’s Listed Companies,’ organised by Third Observers Nigeria Limited, in Lagos, recently announced that the unclaimed dividend figure as at December 2017 had risen to N103billion.
Indeed, from a little over N2billion in 1999, the figure by the end of 2008 had risen to about N20billion. And now the SEC estimates that the value of the unclaimed dividends had increased to about N103billion as at December 2017.
This is despite measures put in place by SEC to stem the rising figure and put an end to the cankerworm, investors’ returns on investment have continued to accumulate on a yearly basis without being claimed.
Specifically, the President of Noble Shareholders Solidarity Association, Timothy Adeshiyan, in an interview with The Guardian said: “said CAMA should be reviewed such that this statues bar placed on investors’ unclaimed dividend after 12 years should be removed in the interest of investors.
“The statues bar laws should be waved to stem the rising unclaimed dividend figure so that people can collect their money at any time. For instance, some people may wake up one day and discover that they have unclaimed dividend.