From Segun Amure, (The New Diplomat’s Abuja Bureau)
Reactions have began to trail the announcement by the Federal government to start borrowing money from unclaimed dividends and funds in dormant accounts owned by Nigerians that are unattended to for at least six years.
The funds are to be deployed as special credit to the federal government through the unclaimed Funds Trust Fund.
Though the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed disclosed this on Wednesday, 6, January, The New Diplomat understands that the decision to borrow from dormant accounts has its root in the Finance Act, 2020 recently signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari.
“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 Act read.
“Such unclaimed dividends transferred to the Unclaimed Funds Trust Fund shall be a special debt owed by the Federal Government to the shareholders and shall be available for claim by the shareholder at any time, pursuant to the aforementioned perpetual trust,” it stated.
However, Nigerians have expressed mixed reactions towards this development as The New Diplomat sampled opinions of citizens.
For Mr. Aboolore, a public affairs analyst, it’s a welcome development. He said, “While developing nations can’t do without borrowing loan for the development of their nations, I believe internal loans like the proposal of FG to borrow from dormant accounts is welcome than obtaining external loans most especially from developed countries to avoid modern colonization and slavery.”
Mr. Babatope Agbeyo, a finance expert reacted thus: “It’s a nice move because what’s the need for idle cash in an account for 6 years when you can invest with it? Such a money should be channelled to productive investments which in the long run would bring about economic development in terms of high living standard, employment opportunities, price reductions among others.
Evidently, while few individuals reacted positively, many reacted to it as a baseless decision that should be abandoned.
Miss Glory, an accountant reacted to it negatively. She said, “It generally makes zero sense to me, what parameters did they use to determine dormancy. Is the nation broke?” She asked.
Mr. Femi who reacted on twitter said, “Leave them, there are settling themselves up against the people by failing to make extra sacrifices. It’s a tickling time bomb that would soon explode sooner or later.”
“It is a high profile robbery. Cut down your salaries and allowances, don’t rob us” @Bishop of Peace, said on twitter. “Why is it difficult to reduce the cost of governance”? @splendi said.
Mr.Alex said, “any government that can think of borrowing money from its citizens dormant account is also a dormant government with dormant leaders.”
“This government is desperate to ruin Nigerians. Why can’t the government reduce the unnecessary costs of governance” said Miss. Rosewater on twitter.
Miss. Orimabuyaku while reacting said, “what is the government business with dormant? If allowed to borrow from the account, they will use it to enrich themselves.
“I don’t know the usefulness of the money. If they borrow it, it won’t be easy for the people to get their money back.” Miss. Adebisi said.