The recovery chase for the N5trillion debt in the portfolio of the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) got new vista, as more government agencies enlist to hunt down the bad debtors.
This is coming as the legally binding operational lifespan of the “bad bank” due 2023, is fast approaching, while the obligors are yet to respond.
The Minister of Finance, Mrs. Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed, whose ministry has joined the coalition, charged AMCON to do everything within the powers of its newly amended Act to recover the huge debt owed it by few individuals and organisations in the country.
Ahmed, who made the call in Abuja, at the weekend, during the quarterly briefing of the Ministry of Finance, attended by agencies under the supervision of the Ministry, commended AMCON, but said she expects a lot more from the corporation, especially now that President Muhammadu Buhari has signed the amended 2019 AMCON Act into law.
“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 a 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,” the minister said.
Similarly, the Director-General of the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP), Mamman Ahmadu, declared BPP’s willingness to collaborate with AMCON in the quest to recover the debt.
He said the recovery will help liberate the economy, as well as improve the commonwealth of the nation.
The BPP boss said the bureau has intensified its due diligence process and will ensure that those seeking contracts from the government are scrutinised to establish the fact that they are not on the list of AMCON debtors before contracts are awarded.
Relatedly, the Chairman of Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), who also chairs the Inter-Agency Presidential Committee set up by the Vice President to recover AMCON debt, Prof. Bolaji Owasanoye, joined 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 Presidential committee 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.
These 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 AMCON boss, Ahmed Kuru, reassured of the commitment of AMCON to deliver on the mandate in line with the expectations of the government.
He also said the corporation has made remarkable progress working with the committee set up by the Presidency to enable AMCON to recover the over N5trillion debt burden.
Uneze also reiterated that AMCON is in partnership with over 228 Asset Management Partners (AMPs) to hasten recovery activities.