According to the Debt Management Office, as of September 2020, Nigeria owed $31.98 billion to multilateral lenders like the World Bank Group, International Monetary Fund (IMF) and African Development Bank (AfDB) Group. So it’s no wonder that the federal government is sourcing other means to make funds available without worrying about the foreign exchange or the conditions that come with obtaining loans from multilateral lenders.
The Cable reports that unclaimed dividends and account balances which have been dormant for over six years will be made available to the federal government through the Unclaimed Funds’ Trust Fund which is a sub-fund of the Crisis Intervention Fund, according to the Finance Act 2020 which was lately signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The Act read,
Any unclaimed dividend of a public limited liability company quoted on the Nigerian Stock Exchange and any unutilised amounts in a dormant bank account maintained in or by a deposit money bank which has remained unclaimed or unutilised for a period of not less than six years from the date of declaring the dividend or domiciling the funds in a bank account shall be transferred immediately to the trust fund.
This simply means that public limited liability companies with unclaimed dividend and account balances kept in deposit money banks which have been neglected for at least six years, from the day the deposit was made, will be transferred immediately to the trust fund as a loan. If you’re worried about your money disappearing, you shouldn’t be because the Act states that transferred funds will be a “special debt owed by the federal government to shareholders and dormant bank account holders,” and can be claimed by sole owners at any time. Yes, you can go get your money at any time and it will be made available to you.
However, not all dormant accounts fall under this category as the Act exempts specific accounts like “official bank accounts owned by the federal government, state government or local governments or any of their ministries, departments or agencies.”
The actions of the trust fund will be overseen by the Debt Management Office (DMO) and directed by a governing council. The said governing council will consist of a chairperson which is the Finance Minister, a co-chairperson from the private sector appointed by the president and other members which include the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), director-general of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), managing director of the National Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC), a representative of the registrars of companies, two representatives of the shareholders’ association, a representative of the Bankers’ Committee and the director-general of the Debt Management Office as the secretary of the trust fund.