WEDNESDAY, 23 JUNE 2010 01:16 MODESTUS ANAESORONYE
Shareholders in the country have vowed to stop a proposed Bill before the National Assembly seeking to establish a government agency that would manage millions of naira accumulating from unclaimed dividends of quoted companies on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE).
They say government has not been able to manage and account for the resources under its care, so, does not have what it takes to manage unclaimed dividends belonging to individuals and private organisations. Consequently, they would rather prefer that companies set up investor relationship desks in partnership with the Registrars to help sort out some of the challenges which investors are encountering in making their claims.
Shareholders, who made the remarks at the 15th annual general meeting (AGM) of Custodian and Allied Insurance Company plc held in Lagos, said they would not allow the Bill to survive because it is anti-people. Godwin Anono, chairman, Nigerian Professional Shareholders Association, said the shareholders will kick against the Bill wanting to allow government take over management of unclaimed dividends. “We will not allow it; I hope I am speaking the mind of shareholders”, other shareholders chorused, “yes”.
But Nona Awo, another shareholder at the meeting, said instead of fighting against the Bill, what can be done is that companies should begin to set up investor relationship desk that would partner with Registrars to answer people’s questions. “People need to be guided so that these claims can be made. I believe with this, much would be achieved in reducing the volume of unclaimed dividends”.
The managing director, Custodian and Allied Insurance, Wole Oshin, explaining why the list of unclaimed dividends is high in the market, said it was a fall out of the public offers in the capital market during the recapitalisation of companies.Oshin said that era witnessed fictitious buyers who bought with fake names just to have the shares but have been unable to open accounts with banks to be able to access their dividends.