By Elizabeth Adegbesan
The Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators of Nigeria, ICSAN, has called FOR section 39 of the Finance Bill 2021 to be expunged, to avert the possibility of problems in the capital market and discouragement of investments in the country’s economy.
The section of the Bill states, among other things, that any unclaimed dividends of public listed companies that remain unclaimed for three (3) years after declaration shall be transferred immediately to the Unclaimed Dividends Trust Fund (Fund) either by the company or its Registrar and all unclaimed dividend of more than 12 years shall lapse into government revenue and shall be transferred from the Trust Fund to the Federation Account as Federation Revenue.
Speaking at ISCAN’s Annual Conference themed, “Entrenching the Right Governance Framework For Economic Development and Sustainability”, yesterday, President, ISCAN, Bode Ayeku, stated: “Government should expunge Section 39 of the Finance Bill 2021 proposing to take over unclaimed dividends of public listed companies. It should replace Section 39 of the Finance Bill 2021 with a provision that unclaimed dividends shall be accessible to shareholders indefinitely and shall not be forfeited by any company after 12 years, but to be kept by the companies as stated in Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA) 2020. This is because companies have contractual responsibility to pay dividends to shareholders and this Bill has the implication of inducing a breach of such contract.”