The Chairman, Senate Committee on Banking, Insurance and other Financial Institutions, Senator Uba Sani, has declared that the Senate under the leadership of current Senate President, Ahmed Lawan will join forces with the executive arm of government to wage serious and sustained war against obligors of Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON), whom he described as economic saboteurs who must be made to repay the over N5 trillion outstanding debt owed the corporation.
In a related development, Ahmed Lawan Kuru, the Managing Director/CEO, AMCON has disclosed that the over N1 trillion AMCON has recovered so far accounts for 61% of the Eligible Bank Assets (EBAs) purchase price of N1.7 trillion, which goes down the history book as an outstanding achievement when compared to the recovery performances of other asset management agencies around the world. Even at that, Kuru submitted that the National Assembly still has a lot of work to do to ensure that AMCON delivers on its mandate on or before its sunset, which is around the corner.
Sani, a long-standing civil rights activist and the Senator representing Kaduna Central in the 9th National Assembly, made the declaration at the commencement of the 2019 retreat for members of the Senate Committee on Banking, Insurance and other Financial Institutions, which began in Kaduna on Wednesday. He said recovering the huge debt of AMCON has become a major burden for which the National Assembly will consider all options including the reactivating of the failed bank act and at some point invite the pioneer management of AMCON under the leadership of Mustapha Chike-Obi to come and explain to Nigerians what they did during their tenure.
The Chairman also hinted that the National Assembly will continue to support AMCON by providing all legislative supports including further amendment of the AMCON Act, if need be, to enable the corporation to recover the huge outstanding obligation. He said the red chamber will bring up several motions that will enlighten the public on the real dangers of non-recovery of the debts to the economy. As the upper legislative arm provides AMCON with such support, the senator said if need be, the Senate will along the line step on toes as far as the recovery of these national assets are concerned.
Describing AMCON as a “strategic national institution,” Sani said the senate was happy that AMCON, which the government created in 2010 to be a key stabilizing and revitalising tool to revive the financial systems by effectively resolving the non-performing loan assets of the banks has done well in that assignment but was now faced with the challenge of recovering the huge obligation, which must be done before the lifespan of the critical agency of the federal government especially now that the federal government is looking for funds to develop infrastructural shortage across the nation.
According to him, the red chamber’s determination to go all out to help AMCON recover this huge debt is buoyed by the body language of the executive arm of government and the stance of President Muhammadu Buhari, who has shown executive support towards a speedy recovery of AMCON outstanding obligation by signing the AMCON Amendment Act 2019 into law. He added, “The good news is that the Federal Government under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari is now waging a sustained battle against wreckers of the economy. It is determined to bring defaulters to book by strengthening the legal framework that set up AMCON and giving it all the support, it needs to succeed in its daunting task.
“Aside from the senate, AMCON needs the support of all government agencies and indeed all Nigerians to succeed. Our society must say no to the growing culture of collecting loans and regarding such loans as one’s share of the national cake. This is absurd and intolerable. Our judiciary must also assist the corporation in speedily recovering assets. That will send a clear message to other intending defaulters that the era of impunity is over.”
The Committee Chairman who stated that the retreat was convened to discuss the way forward for AMCON’s recovery activities in line with the new amendment, which has provided AMCON with a sweeping powers to go after the obligors also hinted that the upper chamber, as part of its oversight function, has decided that AMCON at this critical time in its lifespan must be given all the support it requires to achieve its statutory objectives as expected by the Federal Government and indeed all Nigerians.
Kuru in his overview submitted that the ramifications for failure by AMCON to recover its debt, principally owed to the CBN, cannot be quantified as it goes beyond economic cost alone. To achieve the expected result, he said the corporation will be heavily dependent on the legislature, most especially members of the committee to stimulate relevant key stakeholders towards enforcement of the AMCON Act since most obligors of AMCON are poised to stretch AMCON beyond the reasonable time frame. There were also presentations from Executive Directors of AMCON, Mr Aminu Ismail (AMCON Financial Status) and Dr. Eberechukwu Uneze, (Sales and Management of Assets: The Journey and the Challenges) as well as Mr Joshua Ikioda, AMCON’s Group Head, Enforcement, who presented a paper titled “Our Journey So Far (Portfolio Update).