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SECURITIES & Exchange Commission (SEC) on Friday said it has paid out a total of N29.2 billion unclaimed dividends to investors who before this time did not claim their dividends. Mounir Gwarzo, director general (DG) of the Commission made this disclosure at the end of the last post Capital Market committee (CMC) press briefing for 2016. “From November last year to October 2016, Registrars where directed to pay arreas of unclaimed dividends and they have paid out the sum of N29.2 billion arrears of unclaimed dividend,” he said. In January this year, Gwarzo has said unclaimed dividends in the Nigerian Capital market (NCM) stands at N90 billion and advised investors to register for e-dividend to ensure receipt of the funds. According to SEC, unclaimed dividends rose by over 600 percent in the last 15 years. In 1999, it was about N2 billion, rose steadily to N8 billion in 2008, N41billion in 2011, N60 billion in 2013, and N80 billion at the end of 2014. Also, the DG SEC said it has achieved 97 percent dematerialisation and hopes to reach a 100 percent in the next three (3) months. “We have achieved 97 percent dematerialisation and hope in the next three months to achieve a 100 percent,” he said. As part of other SEC’s 10-Year Nigerian Capital Market Master Plan (NCMMP), Gwarzo disclosed that the Commission is poised to make the Direct Cash Settlement (DCS) mandatory to investors who will be inside the network unless for those who decides to opt out of the plan. “On Direct Cash Settlement, you pay directly to investors account and we have expanded the committee on e-dividend to look into the direct cash settlement,” he affirmed. He disclosed that the deadline for issuing out dividend warrants to investors is June 30, 2017. Among other things as part of the 10year Master Plan of the SEC is the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Nigerian Educational Research and Development Council (NERDC) to infuse capital market studies (CMS) into schools’ curriculum. “This will enhance appreciation of a child of the capital market,” the SEC DG said.


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