Debt Recovery: National Assembly to Vest More Powers on AMCON

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By Obinna Chima

The Chairman of House of Representatives Committee on Banking and Currency, Hon. Jones Chukwudi Onyereri, has disclosed that the House is currently working towards amending the Act establishing the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON).

He said the proposed amendment would further empower and embolden the corporation to go after its debtors, especially those that had been recalcitrant.

According to a statement, Onyereri made the disclosure in Abuja at a one-day technical session with stakeholders such as the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN); Nigeria Insurance Deposit Corporation (NDIC) and members of the House Committee on Banking and Currency; AMCON management among others where the challenges inhibiting AMCON from recovering efforts were extensively discussed.

The committee also used the occasion to listen to presentations from the representatives of the CBN, NDIC and legal luminaries among others on how AMCON could function optimally as well as meet its mandate before sunset. 

Onyereri reiterated that the National Assembly had also been monitoring the behaviour of AMCON obligors and expressed displeasure over their behaviour of some of them.

He said the National Assembly would not leave any stone unturned until the AMCON Act is amended to speed up recoveries. 

Earliers, speaking at the forum, Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of AMCON, Mr. Ahmed Kuru, described his assignment at AMCON as “very difficult,” but said there was need to change the recovery approach at the corporation with the backing of the National Assembly especially since the remaining crop of AMCON debtors are defiant, recalcitrant and business heavyweights who have the financial wherewithal to repay their debts but have refused to pay by going to court to tie AMCON up. 

The AMCON boss explained: “We have been doing this for the past seven years and we have realised that what we need now at this time in the life of AMCON is legislative help that would make it possible to recover these debts effectively and efficiently.

“At AMCON, we believe that the Act establishing the corporation can be amended as many times as possible by the National Assembly as long as they think it is appropriate to do so in the interest of the Nigerian economy.

“Given the difficulties we are facing presently, we are of the opinion that the Act establishing AMCON should be amended to reflect our sunset period. 

“We are making this suggestion because we have over the years realised that some of our obligors have since established another lifestyle that are different from what brought them to AMCON so the best we can do as a law abiding agency of the government is take them to court.

“But the wheel of justice grinds slowly in the country so something drastic must be done if we all want AMCON to meet its mandate at sunset.

The National Assembly, Kuru argued, must do everything within its constitutional powers to protect the corporation and pay more attention to AMCON’s sunset to enable the corporation fully recover its debts from the hard-core obligors.