Dormant bank account balances and unclaimed dividends untouched for at least six year now accessible to federal government as a special credit under the Unclaimed Funds Trust Fund (UFTF).
In other word, the federal government of Nigeria now has the privilege to borrow funds from dormant bank account balances and unclaimed dividend unattended for at least six years.
This is true for the Finance Act 2020 recently signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari. The UFTF will be a sub-fund of the Crisis Intervention Fund.
Naijaonlinebiz.com gathered that the funds are made available as a special debt owed by the government to the respective shareholders and the dormant bank account holders. However, the original owners of the money can claim it at any time.
All the Official bank accounts owned by the federal government, state government, local governments or any of their ministries, departments or agencies are exempted from the Finance Act.
The finance Acts read as follows “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”.
The operation of the trust fund will be supervised by the Debt Management Office (DMO) and governed by a governing council chaired by the finance minister and a co-chairperson from the private sector appointed by the president.
Other members of the governing council shall 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.
This is to going to make needed funds available to the federal government without foreign exchange worries or conditions attached to loans from multilateral lenders.
Meanwhile, reactions from some people interviewed by naijaonlinebiz.com indicates that this act will not yield any positive result but rather increase corruption and misappropriation of funds which is a common practice in Nigeria except if there are appropriate measures put in place to track this system