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Finance Act: FG establishes crisis intervention fund, unclaimed funds trust fund

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The Federal Government has established crisis intervention fund and unclaimed funds trust fund. The two Funds are contained in the 2020 Finance Bill, which was signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari on 31st December, 2020.

According to the Act, “There shall be provided out of the Consolidated Revenue Fund and the Special Accounts listed in the First Schedule to this Act upon the coming into operation of this Act the sum of N500,000,000,000.00 or other such sums as may be approved by the National Assembly for the establishment of a Fund to be known as the Crisis Intervention Fund. It went on: “The crisis intervention fund may be utilised for making funds available to meet expenditure as provided in the Annual Appropriation Act to meet any crisis related expenditure or other such exigencies that may arise pursuant to Section 12 of the Fiscal Responsibility Act and Section 306 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999.”

The Act also established unclaimed Funds Trust Intervention Fund, an Unclaimed Funds Trust Fund. “From the commencement of this Act, any unclaimed dividend of a public limited liability company quotedontheNigerianStock Exchangeand 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 dateof declaring thedividend or domiciling the funds in a bank account shall be transferredimmediatelytotheUnclaimed Funds Trust Fund. The unclaimed dividend and unutilised amounts in a dormant bank account shall be transferred either by the public limited company, Registrar or deposit money bank.

“The Act stipulates that unclaimed Funds Trust Fund shall be governed by a Governing Council chaired by the Minister responsible for Finance and a Co-Chairperson from the private sector as may be appointed by the President on the recommendation of the Minister responsible for Finance subject to confirmation by the Senate provided that the private sector Co-Chairperson shall be a qualified person of irreproachable integrity as to render the person a fit and proper person to serve in this capacity. “Other members of the governing council shall include: (a) Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria; (b) Director-General of Securities and Exchange Commission; (c) Managing Director of National Deposit Insurance Corporation; (d) Representative of the Registrars of Companies; (e) Two representatives of the shareholders’ association; (f) Representative of the Bankers’ Committee; and the Director-General of the Debt Management Office as the Secretary to the Trust Fund.

“The Act stipulates that the secretariat of the Trust Fund shall be in lhe Debt Management Office and the Debt Management Office shall operate the Trust Fund with the Central Bank of Nigeria and Securities and Exchange Commission. “All public limited liability companies quoted on the Nigerian Stock Exchange and deposit money banks shall render annual return of unclaimed dividend and unutilised amounts in a dormant bank account in a format prescribed by the Debt Management Office of the Federation.”

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