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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.

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

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Coronavirus – Africa: IMF Staff Completes Staff Visit to Senegal

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IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva

IMF Visits Senegal to Assess COVID-19 Impacts

End-of-Mission press releases include statements of IMF staff teams that convey preliminary findings after a visit to a country. The views expressed in this statement are those of the IMF staff and do not necessarily represent the views of the IMF’s Executive Board.

The Senegalese economy is expected to contract this year as a result of disruptions in economic activity due to the COVID-19 pandemic. A recovery is underway, but uncertainty regarding its speed and extent remains significant; execution of the revised 2020 budget is proceeding largely in line with expectations, with a robust implementation of the Economic and Social Resilience Program (PRES) to address the COVID-19 pandemic; the authorities and the IMF team made considerable progress on key parameters for the draft 2021 budget, ahead of the second PCI review mission planned for late October 2020.

A staff team from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), led by Ms. Corinne Deléchat, conducted a virtual mission from September 9-18, 2020, to update macroeconomic projections, discuss 2020 budget execution and plans for the 2021 budget. At the conclusion of this mission, Ms. Deléchat issued the following statement:

“The Senegalese economy has been severely hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, with real GDP growth now expected to contract by 0.7 percent this year, reflecting the larger-than-anticipated disruptions in economic activity stemming from the pandemic and strict containment measures. A gradual recovery started in May with the lifting of most COVID-19-related restrictions, followed by the reopening of borders in July. Senegal’s strong health response is showing encouraging signs with a steady decline in new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations over the past four weeks. In 2021, output is projected to rebound back to above 5 percent, boosted in part by favorable prospects for agriculture. This projection is however subject to significant downside risks, reflecting uncertainties around the speed of the global recovery and the evolution of the pandemic, which could continue to affect important sectors of the economy such as tourism, transport and hospitality.

“Budget execution through end-August 2020 was broadly satisfactory, and the objectives for the remainder of the year set in the revised 2020 budget remain within reach. Uncertainties related to the mobilization of programmed resources however remain. Therefore, the mission encourages the authorities to continue with their prudent approach in order to maintain the deficit at around 6 percent of GDP as envisaged in the 2020 revised budget. The mission commends the authorities for the strong and transparent implementation of their Economic and Social Resilience Program (PRES). Most of the planned COVID-19 measures have already been executed, as detailed in the June 2020 quarterly budget implementation report. The mission welcomes the recent repeal of the decree on derogatory procurement procedures for COVID-19 related spending, which will from now on follow the normal procurement procedure. The authorities have also finalized a new recovery plan which aims to support a return to strong and inclusive private sector-led growth, focusing on accelerating the structural transformation process and enhancing the economy’s resilience through diversification of the productive base.

“The mission and the authorities made significant inroads in discussing the contours of the draft 2021 budget. Given high uncertainty and lingering effects of the pandemic on some sectors of the economy, the draft 2021 budget should aim to strike a balance between supporting the recovery, including through a robust investment plan on the one hand, and fiscal and debt sustainability also consistent with the WAEMU’s external stability on the other. To that effect, the 2021 fiscal stance should continue to signal a strong commitment to return gradually to a budget deficit of 3 percent of GDP by 2022, in line with the WAEMU convergence criterion, as the situation normalizes. Discussion on the draft budget will continue in the coming weeks.

“The second PCI review mission will take place in late October 2020, with a Board meeting tentatively planned for December 2020.

“The mission wishes to thank the authorities for the frank, open and constructive dialogue.”

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Over 60% of The global Gold Demand is for Jewelry and Investment

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Gold

More Than  60% of Global Gold Demand is for Jewelry, Investment

Data presented by Buy Shares indicates that jewelry and investment account for 37.29% and 26% respectively of the total global gold demand. As of September 2020, the total global demand for gold stood at 5.29 million kilograms or 186.8 million ounces.

Gold’s role as a safe haven for investment

Central bank’s demand for gold accounts for 12.14%. Other notable sectors in gold demand include bar demand (7.45%), industry (6.07%), electronics (4.86%), coin (3.85%), medals (1.13%), other (0.92%). Dentistry recorded the least demand at 12,587 kilograms or 0.23%.

The research highlighted the growth of gold as an investment avenue. According to the research report:

“Gold as an investment is subject to cyclical volatility since many investors speculate on its value. The high demand for gold for investment can be linked to the fact that the precious metal is considered a safe haven in the event of market volatility. This year, the market experienced the highest volatility rate due to the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic. In general, gold can be used in portfolios to protect the purchasing power, reduce volatility, and minimize losses during moments of market shock.”

The Buy Shares research also overviewed countries with the highest demand for gold. The research reviewed 15 top countries with the demand totaling to 2,042,725 kilograms as of September 2020.

China has the largest share at 700,442 kilograms, while India is second at 625,561 kilograms. The United States is a distant third with its goal demand almost five times less than China at 148,316 kilograms. Turkey and Germany emerged fourth and fifth at 100,380 kilograms and 90,472 kilograms.

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US 2020 Election: Leading Organisations Donate Over $255m for Campaigns

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trump and obama

Top 1o Leading Organisations Donate Over $255m Towards US Election campaigns

Ten leading global business organisations have donated over $255 million towards the US 2020 election campaigns, according to recent data compiled by Buy Shares.

The data indicates that the top ten organisations contributed a combined $255.20 million towards the U.S elections campaign as of September 8, 2020.

The report also noted that the Democratic Party receives the largest donations at $135.59 million while the Republican Party followed with $119.61 million.

Across both parties, Uline Inc led with $40.09 million contributions towards the Republican Party campaign.

Other top donors towards the Republican Party include Blackstone Group ($31.97 million), American Action Network ($19.88 million), Las Vegas Sands ($14.06 million), and Adelson Clinic for Drug AbuseTreatment & Research ($13.59 million).

On the other hand, Fahr LLC is the largest contributor towards Democratic Party campaigns at $39.65 million. Other leading donors include Sixteen Thirty Fund ($34.33 million), Paloma Partners ($21.76 million), Senate Majority PAC ($21.41 million), and Carpenters & Joiners Union ($18.42 million).

According to the research report: “There is still debate if the organization’s donations influence politics. According to experts, successful companies usually bet their contributions towards the winning candidates. On the other hand, small firms are likely to back candidates who will lose. Political pundits argue that big companies are in a better position at foreseeing future events. To a large extent, the company’s usually support candidates or political parties that are likely to support their priorities. Additionally, in some incidents, stocks of companies that backed the winning candidate might rise after the election. The boost in stock prices tends to attract investors.”

Campaign contributions are used to cover the cost of travel, political consulting, and other the direct costs of communicating the party’s agenda.

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