Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, at the weekend said the federal government will deal decisively with individuals and organisations that made the list of high-profile obligors of Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON).
He said the debtors have made it impossible for the corporation to resolve its outstanding N5trillion debt, thereby holding the entire country to ransom with their bad behaviour.
Osinbajo was quoted in a statement issued by AMCON, as disclosing a plan by the government to set up an inter-agency collaboration framework that would comprise relevant government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) and supervised by his office to ensure that institutions and individuals that are indebted to AMCON are not allowed to do business with the government henceforth.
The vice president who spoke when he received some board members and management of AMCON at the State House, Abuja, led by the Board Chairman, Dr. Muiz Banire, said the federal government under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari, would no longer fold its hands and allow a few individuals that owe AMCON huge sums of money to walk freely on the streets in the country.
“I think the time has come for us (federal government) to set some examples with some of these top debtors of AMCON, which I believe will set a good example and serve as deterrent to others,” he said.
According to the statement, Osinbajo was impressed with the performance of the executive management of AMCON under the leadership of Ahmed Kuru, over the recovery successes that had been achieved so far against all odds and promised that the federal government would give the agency whatever support necessary to enable them go after the obligors that have remained recalcitrant despite the olive branch extended to them over the years by the recovery agency of the government.
“I congratulate AMCON for the work done so far having recovered over N1trillion and counting both in cash and in assets. The work you do as a recovery agency is not something that is particularly easy or encouraging because we all know how Nigeria works.
“But we are committed to working more closely with your administration to ensure that these monies are recovered from AMCON obligors because it will help our economy and provide the government with more money to continue to improve on the development of infrastructure across the nation,” the vice president explained.
Osinbajo said in the next couple of days, he would invite the AMCON team alongside other relevant MDAs to discuss and fine-tune plans on how to ensure that anybody or agency that is a debtor to AMCON is completely made to face the wrath of the law, adding that those indebted to the government are direct enemies of both the government and the people of Nigeria.
Earlier in his presentation, Banire who said AMCON’s visit to the Vice President was to congratulate him and President Buhari on their recent victory at the polls, also highlighted some of the challenges and frustrations faced by AMCON as a result of the attitudes of some debtors who behave as if they are above the law in the country.
While calling on the government to rally round AMCON if they indeed want the corporation to succeed Banire said, “AMCON has been able to recover over N1 trillion since inception to 2018-year end. Out of the recovered sum, cash accounted for 60 per cent, while non-cash assets such as properties and equity securities accounted for the balance of 40 per cent. Over the same period, AMCON’s repayment of its indebtedness to the CBN was over N1 trillion.
“As at end of December, 2018, AMCON’s Assets Under Management (AUM) amounted to about N172.5 billion. It is noteworthy to state that out of the total real estate properties, assets available for sale is valued at N62 billion. Of this N62 billion, about 83 per cent comprises of bare land and other assets, which may need considerable improvements to convert into income generating assets,” he added.
Banire put AMCON’s total debt obligation to the CBN due to the intervention in Skye Bank to be excess of N6 trillion.
“And it is evident that the federal government cannot afford to write off this debt in the short term, hence, our moral obligation to pursue obligors and recover the debts owed,” Banire added.