News Column

Shareholders Receive N1 Trillion As Dividends in 10 Years

June 16, 2014

Goddy Egene

Shareholders have received over N1 trillion in dividends from companies in the last 10 years, the President/Chairman of Council of the Institute of Capital Market Registrars (ICMR), Mr. Bayo Olugbemi, has disclosed.

Speaking at a press conference to announce the ICMR's 5th Annual Conference coming up on June 21, 2014 in Lagos, Olugbemi said out of the N1 trillion only 5.05 per cent or N50.936 billion remained as unclaimed dividends as at the end December 31, 2013.

According to him, efforts by regulators and registrars have drastically reduced the level of unclaimed dividends in the nation's capital market, compared to years back when the level used to be in the region of 24 per cent.

He said that the volume may appear huge, especially when compared with the value of dividends being currently declared by companies as against 10 years ago, adding that the N50 billion indicates a commendable improvement.

"The efforts of regulators and registrars have yielded significant results in reducing unclaimed dividends in the market. Some years back the percentage of unclaimed dividends was around 24 per cent. But we have reduced it to below 10 per cent, specifically to 5.05 per cent as at last December. We are still doing more to bring it further down," he said.

Olugbemi, who is also the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of First Registrars Limited, explained that in past some of the big banks were paying dividends below N10 billion.

"But last year alone, some of those banks paid dividends of over N30 billion, some over N54 billion. Ten years ago the likes of Dangote Cement were not in the market but last year alone, the company declared dividend of about N120 billion. So if the unclaimed portion of the entire dividends paid in the market in the past 10 years is 5.05 per cent as at December, 2013, I believe it is a good effort," he said.

Olugbemi said as part of efforts of the registrars to deepen participation in market, the ICMR introduced the annual conference. According to him, the focus of the conference this year is on corporate governance.

He said what makes the capital markets of the advanced economies like those United Kingdom, United States of America, Japan and China different from ours has to do with issues relating to the practice of leadership and good corporate governance principles by the regulators, operators, investors, and publicly quoted companies.

"The Institute has therefore carefully thought it wise and critical to deliberate on the theme "Developing a world-class capital market: the need to strengthen adherence to corporate governance practices; the role of regulators, operators and investors" in this conference."

Olugbemi disclosed that the key address will be delivered by Tunde Lemo, a former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, while a panel of distinguished professionals will deliberate on the theme from different perspectives.

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Source: AllAfrica

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