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Shareholders Contemplate Court Action to Stop Unclaimed Dividends Fund

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Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)

Determined to stop the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) from moving unclaimed dividends of 12 years to the proposed Nigerian Capital Market Development Fund (NCMDF), some shareholders are planning a court action.

The capital market apex regulator is planning to establish the NCMDF for dividends that have been unclaimed for 12 years and above. The Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA) provides that unclaimed dividends for 12 years are statute barred and are returned to the companies that paid the dividends.

However, SEC has proposed a new rule on application of 12 years and above unclaimed dividends.

“All companies and registrars shall not later than 30 days after the end of every calendar year forward to the Commission a report of unclaimed dividends in their custody, which shall specify compliance with Sub Rule (1) of this Rule. Companies shall disclose details of compliance with this Rule in their annual reports,” SEC said in the rule.

According to the commission in proposing the rule, it relied on provisions of Section 313(1)(n) of the Investments and Securities Act (ISA) 2007, which gives it powers to make rules for the orderly governance of the capital market.

Although some shareholders have kicked against the rule, investigations showed that the shareholders will resort to legal action should SEC decide to go ahead with the establishment of the NCMDF.

“We have been impressed with other recent efforts made by SEC to tackle the issue of unclaimed dividends in the market. But this new plan is not acceptable to us. We have registered our feelings with the commission. But if it goes ahead with the plan, we shall stop it in the law court,” the leader of shareholders’ said on Monday.

According to him, this is an unpopular move that has failed in the past, stressing that it will fail again.

The National Coordinator, Independent Shareholders Association of Nigeria (ISAN), Sir Sunny Nwosu, had already said his group would resist the plan, which he described as “very offensive” attempt to take their private monies.

He said SEC and other regulators have sufficient funds and avenues to mobilise resources to perform their statutory roles of market development, noting that dividends belong to shareholders and the paying companies.

Also, co-founder of Nigeria Shareholders Solidarity Association (NSSA), Alhaji Gbadebo Olatokunbo, said the plan would lead to corruption and discourage investors from the domestic market.

“Unclaimed dividends belong to shareholders who are the owners of companies and their going back to the companies after 12 years is legitimate. We respectfully call on the federal government to urgently call the regulatory agencies to order, before they add more damage to our already sick economy,” Olatokunbo said.

However, President, Association for the Advancement of Rights of Nigerian Shareholders (AARNS), Dr. Faruk Umar, hailed the plan, saying it is a healthy development that would discourage sharp practices around the unclaimed dividends.

“The truth of the matter is that bulk of the unclaimed dividend that is more than 12 years belongs to people who are dead, multiple applicants who do not have bank account in their names, or small amounts of money that is not worth claiming. Someone that has not claimed his or her dividend in 12 years is unlikely to do so now. So, the Trust Fund should be established as this will discourage people from benefitting from the unclaimed dividend,” Umar said.

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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Commodities

Nigeria’s Petrol Imports Decrease by 1 Billion Litres Following Subsidy Removal

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Ship Aveon Offshore

Nigeria’s monthly petrol imports declined by approximately 1 billion litres following the fuel subsidy removal by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) reported.

The NBS findings illuminate the tangible effects of this policy shift on the country’s petroleum importation dynamics.

Prior to the subsidy removal, the NBS report delineated a consistent pattern of petrol imports with quantities ranging between 1.91 billion and 2.29 billion litres from March to May 2023.

However, in the aftermath of Tinubu’s decision, the nation witnessed a notable downturn in petrol imports, with figures plummeting to 1.64 billion litres in June, the first post-subsidy month.

This downward trend persisted in subsequent months, with July recording a further reduction to 1.45 billion litres and August witnessing a significant decline to 1.09 billion litres.

August’s import figures represented a decrease of over 1 billion litres compared to the corresponding period in 2022.

The NBS report underscores the pivotal role of the subsidy removal in reshaping Nigeria’s petrol import landscape with the Nigerian National Petroleum Company emerging as the sole importer of fuel in the current scenario.

Despite higher petrol imports in the first half of 2023 compared to the previous year, the decline in June, July, and August underscores the profound impact of subsidy removal on import dynamics, affirming the NBS’s latest findings.

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Crude Oil

Nigeria’s Oil Rig Count Soars From 11 to 30, Says NUPRC CEO

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Nigeria oil rig

The Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC), Gbenga Komolafe, has announced a surge in the country’s oil rig count.

Komolafe disclosed that Nigeria’s oil rigs have escalated from 11 to 30, a substantial increase since 2011.

Attributing this surge to concerted efforts by NUPRC and other governmental stakeholders, Komolafe highlighted the importance of instilling confidence, certainty, and predictability in the oil and gas industry.

He explained the pivotal role of the recently implemented Petroleum Industry Act (PIA), which has spurred significant capital expenditure amounting to billions of dollars over the past two and a half years.

Speaking in Lagos after receiving The Sun Award, Komolafe underscored the effective discharge of NUPRC’s statutory mandate, which has contributed to the success stories witnessed in the sector.

The surge in Nigeria’s oil rig count signifies a tangible measure of vibrant activities within the upstream oil and gas sector, reflecting increased drilling activity and heightened industry dynamism.

Also, Komolafe noted that NUPRC has issued over 17 regulations aimed at enhancing certainty and predictability in industry operations, aligning with the objectives outlined in the PIA.

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Crude Oil

Oil Prices Rebound in Asian Markets Amid Red Sea Shipping Concerns

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Crude Oil - Investors King

Amid escalating attacks on shipping in the Red Sea and growing uncertainty regarding U.S. interest rate cuts, oil prices rebounded in Asian markets today.

Brent crude oil, against which Nigerian oil is priced, climbed by 24 cents to $82.58 a barrel while the U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude oil (WTI) rose by 21 cents to $77.25.

The rebound comes after both Brent and WTI contracts experienced a 1.5% and 1.4% decline, respectively, from their near three-week highs on Tuesday.

This decline occurred as the premium for prompt U.S. crude futures to the second-month contract widened to $1.71 a barrel, its widest level in approximately four months.

However, on Wednesday, the premiums slid to 4 cents a barrel.

Analysts suggest that oil futures have entered a relatively range-bound phase, with current prices reflecting a risk premium of $6-7 per barrel.

The situation could persist until the next significant development in the Gaza crisis, whether it involves a de-escalation through a ceasefire or a further intensification of the conflict.

Recent attacks on vessels in the Red Sea and Bab al-Mandab strait by Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthis have heightened concerns over freight flows through these critical waterways.

Moreover, Washington’s veto of a draft UN Security Council resolution on the Israel-Hamas war has added to geopolitical tensions impacting oil markets.

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