Shareholders in the nation’s capital market have commended the recent Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) directive approving payment of cheques into savings account, pointing out that it would reduce the volume of unclaimed dividends as many shareholders would benefit from the policy.
According to the National Coordinator, Progressive Shareholders Association of Nigeria, Mr. Boniface Okezie, CBN’s decision on payment of cheques into savings account is a welcome development. “We have long been clamouring for it because of the issue of unclaimed dividends, which stands at over N60 billion. This directive by the CBN will definitely reduce the unclaimed dividend volume. It will go a long way to help shareholders whose dividends have been lying idle over the years because they do not have current account. All they need to do now is to update them and pay them into their savings account.” Okezie added that, “with this initiative, I think the CBN is doing everything possible to see that the economy is not stagnant.”
Shareholder activist and co-founder of Nigeria Shareholders Solidarity Association (NSSA), Alhaji Gbadebo Olatokunbo, also lauded the CBN on the new directive. Olatokunbo in a statement said: “Kudos to CBN on this new directive that will also affect the payment of dividends into bank savings account, since dividend warrants were treated like bank cheques and thereby assist in the reduction of unclaimed-dividend problems.”
He added: “It is on record that most retail investors (shareholders) were savings account holders and several others were not in a position to meet the requirement for the opening of current account with banks, which had contributed mostly to rising unclaimed dividend. “We hope the regulatory agencies will ensure that the Registrars would abide with the CBN on this new directive by accepting e-dividend mandate of shareholders with bank savings account,” he said.
Meanwhile, Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on Friday confirmed that dividend warrants are now being deposited into savings accounts.
Corroborating, the President, Nigeria Shareholders Solidarity Association (NSSA), Chief Timothy Adesiyan, also extolled the apex bank’s new directive. He said, “we started clamouring for this since as far back as when Lamido Sanusi was the CBN Governor. So, it is a welcome development and we thank the present management of CBN. Although this also means that before opening savings account for anyone now, the banks will take serious cautions just like the current account in order to avoid fraud.
The CBN had last week directed banks operating in the country to accept deposit of cheques into savings account and to begin to embed Bank Verification Number (BVN) in payment cards.
The CBN, in a circular signed by Director, Banking and Payments System Department, Dipo Fatokun, dated July 28, 2016, sent to all banks and financial institutions stated: “The CBN in furtherance of its efforts at strengthening the Nigerian payments system hereby issues the following directives: the removal of fixed interest rate on credit cards; discontinuation of actual address verification in account opening for customers with the BVN; banks should begin to embed BVN biometric data in payment cards issued henceforth, to facilitate offline BVN verification and biometric-based customer authentication on such payment devices as Automated Teller Machines (ATMs), Point of Sales (PoS) terminals, kiosks, among others.”