Finance Minister Tasks AMCON, Govt Agencies on N5trn Debt


Chika Amanze-Nwachuku

Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, has charged the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) led by Mr. Ahmed Kuru, to do everything within the powers conferred on it in the newly amended Act to ensure the recovery of the N5trillion debt owed the Corporation by a few recalcitrant individuals and organisations in the country.

The minister’s directive came as more agencies of the federal government indicated willingness to collaborate with AMCON in its quest to recover the huge debts.

Speaking in Abuja at the weekend during the quarterly briefing of the Ministry of Finance, the minister, who commended AMCON on the national assignment, said a lot more was expected from the Corporation with the signing of the amended 2019 AMCON Act into law by President Muhammadu Buhari.

 The law gives additional powers to AMCON to deal with the obligors.

“AMCON must ensure that the debts are recovered before the sunset, which is around the corner. If at sunset AMCON fails to recover the huge bad loans, the debt will become government problem, which the government is not willing to carry. Therefore, everything must be done to ensure that AMCON recovers the debt from the obligors because it will have a huge positive impact on the economy,” a statement from AMCON quoted the minister to have said.

While urging all the agencies under the ministry’s supervision to always remember the 11 priority areas of the Buhari’s administration in the discharge of their duties, the minister said that the quarterly meeting had become critical because it creates the enabling platform for sister agencies of government to cross-fertilise ideas for improved collaboration and delivery.

Earlier, the Director-General, Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP), Mr. Mamman Ahmadu, had declared the agency’s willingness to collaborate with AMCON in the quest to recover the debt, which he said would help liberate the economy as well as improve the commonwealth of the nation.

The BPP boss said that the bureau had intensified its due diligence process and would ensure that those to be awarded contract from the government were scrutinised to establish that they were not among the obligors.

Similarly, the Chairman of Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), Prof. Bolaji Owasanoye, who also chairs the Inter-Agency Presidential Committee set up by the Vice President to recover AMCON debt, has added his voice in rallying sister agencies of government to ensure that they tighten the noose on AMCON obligors, which he said will pressure them to repay the debt before sunset.

According to him, the Inter-Agency Presidential Committee, which includes the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC); the Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU); Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC); Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN); Ministry of Justice; ICPC and AMCON have concluded plans to expand the dragnet of the debtors by looking at those who facilitated the loans on the side of the banks and those who benefited from the proceeds.

An Executive Director at AMCON, Dr. Eberechukwu Uneze, who represented the AMCON boss at the quarterly meeting, reassured the minister of the commitment of the management and staff of AMCON to deliver on the mandate in line with the expectations of the federal government.

 He also said the Corporation has made remarkable progress working with the Inter-Agency Committee set up by the Presidency to enable AMCON recover the over N5trillion debt burden, just as AMCON is in partnership with over 228 Asset Management Partners (AMPs) to hasten recovery activities.