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Unclaimed Dividends Hit N130b



Nigerian stock market - Investors King

Unclaimed dividends have risen to its highest level of N129.62 billion. Shareholders have alleged deliberate efforts by registrars and company secretaries to frustrate the recovery of the unclaimed dividends and payment of new ones.

Latest update on unclaimed dividends by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) showed that unclaimed dividends had risen to N129.62 billion by last December 31.

The report indicated that about a quarter of the unclaimed dividends were with registrars while the balance were with companies.

SEC in November 2015 launched the E-Dividend Mandate Management System (E-DMMS) in collaboration with the Central Bank of Nigeria, Nigerian Interbank Settlement System (NIBSS) and other stakeholders. The E-DMMS is an E-dividend payment portal that ensures the payment of dividends directly into a shareholder’s account.

After about three years of campaign for e-dividend, SEC cancelled the issuance of physical dividend warrants, opting for full e-dividend payment for companies quoted on the stock market.

Shareholders, who spoke to The Nation at the weekend, alleged that the rate of adoption of the e-dividend and recovery on unclaimed dividends had been slowed down by bureaucratic bottlenecks and deliberate sabotage by some stakeholders, especially registrars and company secretaries.

Shareholders, who spoke under the condition of anonymity for fears of victimisation, said companies and registrars were unwilling to release the huge funds under their custody and had been employing delay tactics to frustrate shareholders from adoption of e-dividend.

According to the shareholders, company secretaries and registrars have perfected the tactics of selective payment and distribution of e-dividend while exploring loopholes in the rules and enforcement by SEC.

“Before you can open a shareholding account, you must necessarily fill Know-Your Customer (KYC) form that contains all your details, including bank account and official identity. You will also be required to sign your signature, provide utility bill, photocopies of identity card and many other requirements. But even after this process and your account is opened at the Central Securities Clearing System (CSCS), the registrars will still claim you don’t have specimen signature and all sorts of that,” a shareholders’ leader said.

According to them, with the shareholders’Bank Verification Number (BVN) that are registered with stockbrokers, registrars should be able to process e-dividend and make payment on the basis of confirmation by stockbrokers, who are the custodians of shareholders’ accounts.

They noted that the CSCS used a similar method to attain 100 per cent dematerialisation of share certificates, alleging that registrars and company secretaries are undermining the dividend payment process because “money is involved”.

They urged SEC to review the e-dividend process and work with stockbrokers to achieve seamless transition to full e-dividend payment.

“When you sell your shares through stockbrokers, you get your money, why is it that it is only when it comes to dividend payment that bureaucracy comes in and you are being tossed from one end to another? It is deliberate. They know what they are doing,” another shareholders’ leader lamented.

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

Banking Sector

CBN Extends Letter of Credit Issuance Timeline Amid Forex Crisis

Move Aims to Address FX Scarcity Challenges and Enhance Customer Service



Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has announced an extension of the timeline for issuing letters of credit from 24 hours to five working days, according to the newly approved 2023 service charter.

This adjustment comes as the country grapples with foreign exchange scarcity, impacting local and international trade.

The 2020 service charter initially stipulated a 24-hour timeline for the issuance and management of letters of credit, but the updated charter now reflects a timeline extension to five working days.

Also, the CBN has prolonged the timeline for the registration of Form M and NXP from 24 hours to two working days.

The move follows the CBN’s unification of all forex market segments in June 2023, aimed at promoting liquidity and stability.

However, this measure appears to have led to increased market instability, with the naira losing nearly a fifth of its value.

Reports indicate that foreign suppliers are now rejecting letters of credit from Nigerian businesses, affecting the importation of goods and services.

Letters of credit are crucial for the payment of visible goods imports, wherein a bank commits in writing to pay the exporter a specified sum within a defined timeframe upon receipt of proper documentation from the customer.

The extended timelines for letters of credit, Forms M, and NXP in the service charter are seen as measures to manage cash flow and instill confidence in the process amidst the ongoing forex crisis.

CBN Governor Yemi Cardoso stressed the commitment to responsive and citizen-friendly governance through efficient, responsible, and transparent service delivery in the revised service charter.

The move is part of the CBN’s effort to comply with the Business Facilitation Act 2022 and enhance ease of doing business in Nigeria.

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Banking Sector

Unity Bank MD Advocates Policy Actions to Stem Gender-Based Violence in Nigeria



The Managing Director of Unity Bank Plc, Mrs. Tomi Somefun has called for comprehensive policy actions that will dismantle the structures that enable gender-based violence in Nigeria.

At the Ebony Life Cinema, the venue of the film screening in Lagos, Unity Bank supported the BECKMA movie premiere by ARDA Development Commuications Inc. which was held to highlight issues of Gender-Based violence and driving positive change in society.

Making the call, Somefun stated that the Bank committed to partnering with the movie premiere and putting the power of the brand behind BECKMA as the event brings sustainability and gender equality to the front burner.

Represented by Unity Bank’s Group Head of Compliance, Mrs. Patricia Ahunanya, Somefun noted that “9 percent of women aged 15 to 49 had suffered sexual assault at least once in their lifetime and 31% had experienced physical violence,” citing a recent study by UNDP in Nigeria.

Speaking further, Somefun said “Gender-based violence is not just a women’s issue, but a societal ill that demands our collective attention. It is high time for us to step forward and advocate for comprehensive policy actions that will dismantle the structures allowing such atrocities to persist”.

She added, “I urge policymakers to enact stringent laws against gender-based violence, ensuring swift and severe consequences for perpetrators. Our homes and various organisations must also be a catalyst for change, inspiring others to follow suit.”

While commending the ARDA Development Communications Inc. for their initiatives to promote gender equality and empowerment in line with SDG5, Somefun assured of the Bank’s commitment to sustainable initiatives and further collaborative initiatives and advocacy programmes for the elimination of gender-based violence.

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Banking Sector

Nigeria’s NIBSS Directs Banks to Disconnect Non-Deposit Financial Institutions from NIP System



Central Bank headquarters

Banks in Nigeria have received a directive from the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS) to disconnect Switches, Payment Solution Service Providers (PSSPs), and Super Agents from the NIBSS Instant Payment Outwards System.

The circular, dated December 5, 2023, highlighted that including these non-deposit-taking financial institutions as beneficiaries on the NIP funds transfer channels violates the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) guideline on electronic payments.

The NIBSS emphasized that while Switches, PSSPs, and Super Agents might process outward transfers as inflows to banks, their licenses do not permit them to hold customers’ funds.

The circular referred to the CBN’s guidelines on electronic payment of salaries, pensions, suppliers, and taxes, dated February 2014, as the basis for this regulatory stance.

The directive also pointed to a circular dated May 11, 2018, titled “Permissible Services and Products of PSSP Operation in Nigeria,” reinforcing the need for compliance.

As a result, banks were urged to delist all Switches, PSSPs, and Super Agents from the NIP Outward Transfer channels while allowing their participation in inward transfers.

In Nigeria’s payment ecosystem, operators are required to obtain licenses such as Switching and Processing, Mobile Money Operations, Payment Solution Services, or Regulatory Sandbox from the CBN.

Only Mobile Money Operators (MMOs) have the authority to hold customer funds, according to the CBN’s regulatory framework.

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