Shareholders under the aegis of Independent Shareholders Association of Nigeria (ISAN) on Sunday kicked against establishment of unclaimed dividend trust fund being proposed in the Finance Bill 2021. ISAN made this known in a statement issued by its National Coordinator, Dr Anthony Omojola, and Coordinator Emeritus, Mr Sunny Nwosu. It said that creation of the trust fund and transfer of unclaimed dividends into the federation account were uncalled for. According to the association, the process may encourage corruption and nepotism to the detriment of the shareholders/beneficiaries of returns on investments.
ISAN said that the proposed bill would not serve the interest of shareholders. “We want to state that the proposed bill will not serve our interest now and in the foreseeable future. “In fact, it could cause unwarranted hardship and misappropriation of our investments. “For this and other numerous reasons, we plead that the Finance Bill 2021 (Part V) be expunged,” it said.
ISAN noted that dividends were private wealth of investors, either individuals or corporate entities. It said that converting private wealth to Federal Government revenue would violate the right to own property/assets as guaranteed by the 1999 Constitution. “Dividends, including unclaimed dividends, are funds generated by private companies and made available to shareholders in line with the provisions of CAMA and the Company Memart.
“Unclaimed dividends belong to shareholders of companies, and there is adequate provision that, in the event of failure to claim, such funds should revert to the operations of the companies. “There are good structures around this position; government should enhance the structures. “We are an association of over 10,000 members spread all over Nigeria. “Our avowed interest is the protection of the cherished values and welfare of shareholders in general – members and non-members, nationwide,” ISAN said.