Given the woeful performance of the economy in 2016, several industry
experts were expecting similarly woeful results for banks and losses for
investors. The reverse seems to be the case as analysis from Financial
Vanguard on the 2016 results so far released, show a 13% rise in total
dividend income from N143.3 billion in 2015 to N162 billion.
analysis further showed that bank directors held 10.15 billion shares
representing 5.5% of the banks’ total 184.8 billion shares.
shareholders are happy to have avoided a drop in dividend income, bank
directors have every reason to be more grateful. A look at the table
below reveals why.
From above, it appears, Jim Ovia, the
Chairman and Founder of Zenith Bank earned the most from the dividend
windfall. At N5.9 billion, his dividend earnings top that of any other
bank director on the list analysed by Vanguard. The Bank directors on
the list in total received N10.1 billion.
In Nigeria, dividend is taxed at 10% flat suggesting the government would have made about N16.2 billion in withholding taxes.
massive drop in the value of shares of most quoted companies in Nigeria
has made dividend payment an alternative and attractive income to most
investors. Dividend yields for banks have averaged 8% this year, higher
than the 5% typically posted by most Nigerian banks. Despite been less
that the 17% obtainable from less risky investments like Treasury Bills,
investors who have seen the value of their stocks severely impaired,
will be happy to accept dividends, let alone one that suggest a higher
For the bank directors, their goals are somewhat
different. Dividend payments is just one of the minor reasons for
retaining controlling shares in businesses.