The Chairman Senate Committee on Banking, Insurance and other Financial Institutions, Senator Rafiu Adebayo Ibrahim, has said that Nigeria can be made great again, if the legislature as a matter of urgency empowers the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) to go after recalcitrant obligors.
This, he said is the only way AMCON can meet its mandate of achieving the tough mandate for which it was set up in 2010.
The move, he argued, would place before Nigerians those who are holding the nation’s economy to ransom since they account for 80 per cent of AMCON’s N4.8trillion obligation.
The senator, who spoke thursday at the opening of a two-day retreat in Lagos where they convened to discuss the AMCON Act Amendment Bill, hinted that the upper chamber, as part of its oversight function, had decided that AMCON must be given all the support it requires to perform as expected by all Nigerians.
He, however, urged the management of AMCON to collaborate with the Federal Ministry of Finance, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), and the office of the Attorney General of the Federation to propose that the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces issues an Executive Order on seizure of assets of persons who are indebted to AMCON.
Ibrahim said the legislature supports the proposed plan by AMCON to publish the list of 350 obligors that accounts for nearly 80 per cent of the total huge debt of AMCON.
Earlier in his presentation, the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, AMCON, Mr. Ahmed Kuru disclosed that AMCON’s total debt obligation of N4.8 trillion represents more than 55 per cent of the 2018 national budget.
Given the current demands on the federal government therefore, Kuru said he was convinced that it is doubtful that the government can afford to expense AMCON’s debt in the short term.
It was for that reason, AMCON, after seven years of negotiating with the obligors with no commensurate recovery result, has decided to change its strategy, which now pays strict attention to enforcements as a way of compelling especially the recalcitrant obligors to come and pay up their debts.
To achieve this, however, Kuru said the corporation would be heavily dependent on the legislature, most especially members of the committee to facilitate the amendment of the AMCON Act since most obligors of AMCON that are politically exposed and business heavyweights now employ different antics in law to tie the corporation up in courts.
Further highlighting other challenges faced by the corporation, the AMCON CEO, again said: “One of the major areas for amendment is the matter of vesting proprietary interest of all collateral assets acquired by AMCON from commercial banks. The proposed amendment will have retrospective effect. The vesting of proprietary interest of all collateral assets in the resolution vehicle was implemented in Malaysia and was instrumental to their success in recovering debt obligations.
“AMCON’s current assets under management (AUM), that is assets obtained from debt resolution, has a book value of N182 billion, which we are unable to sell. Our ability to successfully divest these assets, at competitive market price, is severely hampered by several factors including valuation methodology, unperfected title documents, state of the economy, purchasing power.”