It’s Wrong for FG to Spend Investors’ Unclaimed Dividends—Lawmaker
By Dipo Olowookere
The lawmaker representing Kaduna North Senatorial District of Kaduna State at the upper chamber of the National Assembly, Mr Suleiman Abdu Kwari, has kicked against the plan by the federal government to use the unclaimed dividends of investors in the nation’s stock market to finance the 2021 budget.
The Senator, who is a public finance management expert, argued that the government has no right to spend funds belonging to private persons all because it oversees the affairs of the nation.
Mr Kwari, while giving his views on the Finance Bill submitted to the parliament on Wednesday at the plenary, asked what happens when the owners of the funds come forward to claim their right?
He described this move as counter-productive, asking the federal government to think-through this development in order not to scare investors away from the market.
However, he advised the government to consider the use of funds of workers kept in the care of pension fund administrators (PFAs) and not the unclaimed dividends, which is the reward of investments.
“I want to single out the use of unclaimed dividend to fund the 2021 budget. I think it should be reviewed by the executive because if eventually, the owners of these funds come up to claim them, the fund will not be readily available for use.
“I urged the federal government to look at something like the Pension Fund Administrative (PFA) instead of hoping on the unclaimed fund,” the lawmaker submitted.
On his part, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Capital Market, Mr Ibikunle Amosun, called for caution because already, many people are scared of buying stocks because of the bottlenecks in cashing out their rewards.
“These days, a lot of people are afraid to invest in shares. Some that died, their next of kin could not access the shares,” the former Governor of Ogun State said.
However, he agreed on the need to “increase our revenue” but emphasised that efforts must be made to “create a system that is friendly, not a system that people will run away from.”
“We need to create a system that will provide jobs for our youths. Let us encourage our medium and small scale enterprises, they are the one that will make our people work. Just as Senator Suswam said, a lot of people are out there begging. Nobody likes to beg. We need to take actions that will better the lives of our people,” Mr Amosun said.
In his submission, the lawmaker representing Lagos West Senatorial District, Mr Solomon Adeola, said the tax system must be reviewed because it will “go a long way to stimulate the economy.”