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E-Dividend: Banks Dare SEC, Charge Investors N3,150 Verification Fee

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Commercial banks in the country are flouting the directive of Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on the e-dividend iportal nitiative. While SEC directed that registration on the portal will be free for investors in the first 90 days, investigations reveal that some banks are charging investors as high as N3,150 to register on the portal. Financial Vanguard investigations reveal that some banks as at Friday, charged investors as high as N3,150 for verification and stamp on mandate form.

For example, Ecobank charges N3,150; First Bank N1,050; Zenith charges N1,000 while UBA and Union Bank charge no fee. The Director General of SEC, Mounir Gwarzo who expressed satisfaction with the level of success recorded so far with the enlightenment programme boost awareness about the portal. He urged investors to take advantage of the service and visit their registrars or banks to register.

“We have all agreed that this is the way to go. It is now left for the investors to go and register. We have agreed with all the stakeholders that for the first 90 days the registration is going to be free. After 90 days, anyone that wants to register will pay N100” “Once the e-dividend is in place, the issue of stale warrant will be of the past, the issue of travelling from one place to another to deposit the warrant will be a thing of the past; the issue of change of address will also be eliminated.

“The era of proceeds not being remitted for shares sold will be a thing of the past. The e-dividend platform with the use of BVN is what will give us that. Once we register for e-dividend, we will also benefit from the Direct Cash Settlement. Another advantage of the e-dividend is that it will provide a very robust KYC to the operator.

“It is because of lack of KYC that we find a lot of infractions in this market. With the BVN platform which the e-dividend is leveraging on, the KYC will now be very robust. People will not be able to use all sorts of identifications to claim what does not belong to them” “The era of stale dividend and huge unclaimed dividend in the market will be a thing of the past with the launch of e-dividend payment platform. The commission will conduct intensive training for bankers and registrars on the usage of the new portal,” Gwarzo stated.

E-dividend refers to the payment of cash dividend into a shareholder’s nominated bank through a direct credit rather than issuing a cheque or warrant. The e-dividend portal which was launched by SEC on July 29 last year has been designed for the use of banks and registrars to digitise the manual process of verification of shareholders’ account details and ensure efficiency in the enrolment process for e-dividend payment.

Is the CEO/Founder of Investors King Limited. A proven foreign exchange research analyst and a published author on Yahoo Finance, Businessinsider, Nasdaq, Entrepreneur.com, Investorplace, and many more. He has over two decades of experience in global financial markets.

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Nigeria Calls on UAE to Modernize 50-Year-Old Oil Pipeline Infrastructure

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Nigeria has extended a call to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for strategic investment.

The Federal Government of Nigeria said there is a need for the renewal and reconstruction of its more than 50-year-old oil pipelines.

Minister of State for Petroleum (Oil), Heineken Lokpobiri, reiterated Nigeria’s vast investment opportunities during discussions held in Abuja with a visiting delegation from the UAE, led by Ambassador Salem Al Shamsi.

The discussions centered on the mutual interests of both nations in the energy sector, particularly in oil exploration and infrastructure development.

Lokpobiri emphasized the critical role of pipelines in transporting crude oil to export terminals, underlining their indispensable significance despite the advancements in alternative transportation methods.

He highlighted the outdated nature of Nigeria’s current pipeline network, most of which was established around the time of Nigeria’s initial oil discoveries in the late 1950s.

Acknowledging the enormity of the investment required, Lokpobiri assured potential UAE investors of attractive investment models.

He outlined a proposal where investors could recover their investments proportionately as crude oil is transported through the pipelines, thereby incentivizing their involvement in the modernization efforts.

Nigeria boasts abundant natural gas reserves, estimated at over 208 trillion cubic feet, positioning the nation as a significant player in the global energy landscape.

Lokpobiri emphasized the potential for further exploration and development in both gas and crude oil sectors, signaling Nigeria’s commitment to maximizing its energy resources.

The recent meeting also delved into the broader context of oil exploration and climate concerns. Lokpobiri reiterated Nigeria’s commitment to the Paris Agreement while emphasizing the importance of a balanced approach to energy production and transition.

He emphasized the need for strategic partnerships to facilitate the financing of Nigeria’s energy transition, highlighting the UAE’s potential role in this endeavor.

Responding to Nigeria’s call, Ambassador Al Shamsi expressed the UAE’s willingness to collaborate with Nigeria in addressing the challenges facing the oil and gas sector.

He affirmed the longstanding relationship between the two nations, spanning over 50 years, and reiterated the UAE’s commitment to supporting Nigeria’s developmental aspirations.

As Nigeria embarks on its journey to modernize its oil infrastructure, partnerships with countries like the UAE are poised to play a pivotal role in realizing its energy ambitions.

The call for investment signals Nigeria’s proactive stance in addressing its infrastructural challenges while leveraging its rich energy resources for sustainable development.

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Nigeria Offers 12 Oil Blocks and 5 Deep Offshore Assets to Global Investors

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Nigeria has unveiled plans to offer 12 oil blocks and 5 deep offshore assets to global investors.

The announcement was made during the ongoing 2024 Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) in Houston, United States, where Nigerian officials presented the country’s vast hydrocarbon potential to an international audience of industry stakeholders.

Addressing participants at the African Oil Industry Opportunities Session, a side event at the OTC, Gbenga Komolafe, Chief Executive of the Nigerian Upstream Regulatory Commission, outlined Nigeria’s significant reserves and emphasized the strategic importance of leveraging these resources for economic development.

With over 37.5 billion barrels of crude oil and condensate reserves, as well as 209.26 trillion cubic feet of natural gas reserves, Nigeria stands as a major player in Africa’s energy landscape.

Komolafe highlighted the government’s commitment to conducting a transparent and competitive bidding process, in accordance with the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) and applicable regulations.

The 2024 Licensing Round, he noted, marks a significant milestone in Nigeria’s hydrocarbon development initiative, introducing 12 carefully selected blocks spanning diverse geological formations, from onshore basins to deep offshore territories.

Each block has been identified for its potential to enhance Nigeria’s reserves and stimulate economic growth, offering opportunities for investors to participate in the country’s oil and gas industry.

The bidding process, which commenced on April 29, 2024, is structured to ensure fairness, competitiveness, and transparency, with guidelines issued to guide prospective bidders.

In addition to the 12 blocks, Nigeria will also conclude the sale of seven deep offshore blocks from the 2022 Mini-Bid Round Exercise, covering approximately 6,700 km2 in water depths ranging from 1,150m to 3,100m.

This comprehensive offering underscores Nigeria’s commitment to maximizing the potential of its petroleum resources and attracting strategic investments to drive sectoral growth.

The bidding round, scheduled to conclude by January 2025, presents a significant opportunity for investors and companies to participate in Nigeria’s oil and gas sector.

The inclusion of both new greenfield blocks and assets from previous bid rounds reflects the government’s dedication to fostering innovation, technological exchange, and capacity building within the industry.

With criteria emphasizing technical competence, financial capacity, and viability, the 2024 licensing round aims to be conducted in a fair, competitive, and non-discriminatory manner, in line with the provisions of the Petroleum Industry Act.

As Nigeria positions itself as a prime destination for oil and gas investment, stakeholders are optimistic about the potential for sustainable growth and development in the sector.

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Microsoft to Invest $2.2 Billion in Malaysia’s Digital Infrastructure

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Microsoft Corporation has announced plans to inject $2.2 billion into Malaysia’s digital infrastructure over the next four years.

This investment shows the company’s determination to harness the potential of Southeast Asia’s burgeoning technology market.

During his visit to Kuala Lumpur, Microsoft’s Chief Executive Officer, Satya Nadella, revealed the company’s ambitious agenda, which encompasses the construction of essential infrastructure to support its cloud computing and artificial intelligence (AI) services.

Nadella also outlined plans to provide AI training to 200,000 individuals in Malaysia and collaborate with the government to enhance the nation’s cybersecurity capabilities.

The move comes amidst intensified competition among tech giants, including Alphabet Inc., Amazon.com Inc., and Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., to gain a foothold in Southeast Asia’s rapidly digitizing landscape.

With a population exceeding 650 million people, the region presents a lucrative market for tech companies seeking to expand their operations beyond traditional strongholds like China.

“We are committed to supporting Malaysia’s AI transformation and ensure it benefits all Malaysians,” stated Nadella.

During his visit, Nadella met Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim and discussed the importance of collaboration between the public and private sectors in driving digital innovation.

Microsoft’s investment not only serves to fortify Malaysia’s technological infrastructure but also aligns with the company’s broader strategy to assert its presence in the Asian market.

Nadella has previously pledged a substantial sum of $7 billion to bolster Microsoft’s services across the region, emphasizing the pivotal role of AI as a catalyst for growth and urging countries to ramp up investment in the technology.

In Malaysia, the southern region of Johor Bahru, linked to Singapore by a causeway, is emerging as a key hub for AI data centers.

The partnership between Nvidia Corp. and local utility YTL Power International Bhd. to establish a $4.3 billion AI data center park in the area underscores the region’s growing significance in the realm of digital infrastructure.

While AI adoption in Southeast Asia is still in its nascent stages, experts predict significant economic benefits with the potential to add approximately $1 trillion to the region’s economy by 2030.

Malaysia is poised to capture a substantial portion of this growth with estimates suggesting a potential windfall of around $115 billion for the country.

Microsoft’s commitment extends beyond Malaysia, as the company announced similar investments during Nadella’s regional tour.

In Indonesia, Microsoft unveiled a $1.7 billion investment plan, while an undisclosed amount was pledged for initiatives in Thailand. Notably, Microsoft intends to invest approximately $1 billion in a new data center in Thailand, as reported by the Bangkok Post.

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