By Chinyere Joel-Nwokeoma
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on Monday decried low investors enrollment to the e-dividend payment platform in the last three months.
Mr Mounir Gwarzo, SEC Director-General, who said this at the third quarter post-Capital Market Committee (CMC) news conference, held in Lagos said only 46,176 investors enrolled during the period.
Gwarzo said that the commission had realised slow pace in terms of implementation of the e-dividend initiative urging investors to embrace the policy to reduce spate of unclaimed dividends in the market.
He said that the Dec. 31, 2017 deadline for issuance of dividend warrant remained irreversible.
Gwarzo said there was the need for Nigerians to key into the initiative for onward payment of dividends into their various accounts.
“In the last three or four months, there has not been appreciable increase in terms of number of enrolment, that is why we felt there is a need for us to have a conversation with the registrars and bankers.
“The registrars agreed to the discussion, we expect in the next two or three months to see a significant improvement in terms of enrolment.
“To leverage on that and to be able to optimise the support we have received, SEC has also been in the vanguard of public enlightenment,’’ Gwarzo said.
The director-general said that any Nigerian that failed to register before the deadline would pay the sum of N150 for registration.
Mr Samuel Oluyemi, the Head, Vertical Markets Group, Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS), said that a total of 50,819 e-dividend mandate registration in August and 59,204 in September were recorded.
Oluyemi said that the figure dropped to 37,153 in October against the targeted figure of 50, 000 registration monthly.
He stated that the drop in the e-dividend called for collaboration among key stakeholders with a view to driving SEC awareness campaign initiative.
“The free registration window is ending Dec. 31, 2017 and our expectation at NIBSS is to have 50,000 registration every month,’’ he said.
Oluyemi stated that NIBSS dedication to the initiative was irreversible, adding that, 136 stockbrokers had been connected to the portal as well as 16 registrars.
“What we have done with e-dividend portal is to ascribe each quoted companies to their registrars. When investors pick a form, the companies managed by those registrars are listed under them.
“The beauty of what we have put in place now is to ensure that stockbrokers begin to play a critical role in the e-dividend mandate registration of investors’’, he said.
Commenting on the market performance, Gwarzo said that the last quarter was good with the All-Share Index growing by 36.5 per cent in the last four months.
He attributed the growth to significant improvement in the market activities.
Gwarzo said that the FMDQ Securities Exchange recorded an increase of over two per cent during the period.
“The fixed income platform also has an increase of over two per cent and NASD has also been doing well.
“Generally, the market in the last quarter has done quite well and we expect the momentum to be maintained.
“The economy also has picked up, the GDP growth rate has risen by almost one per cent to 0.55 per cent, and inflation rate has come down based on the data from the Nigeria Bureau of Statistics (NBS)’’, he added.