The Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria has expressed a commitment to give of some of its debtors as much as a six -month moratorium and more if needed, to fulfill their obligations to the corporation because of the COVID-19 induced suspension of business activities.
The Managing Director of AMCON, Ahmed Kuru, in an interview with Thisday newspaper, however stated that this courtesy would not be extended to those fighting his corporation’s efforts to recover the debts.
He also spoke of how AMCON has so far recovered more than N1trn from debtors and the corporation’s readiness to sell Polaris Bank as soon as possible.
He said, “There are two types of obligors. We have the willing obligors that we had arrived at settlement with and they have a payment plan and they have been paying. For example, somebody has a brewery at Aba and he is paying let’s say N100 million monthly and now because of the pandemic, the factory is closed and he cannot meet his obligation.
“Or someone that has a factory and is producing roofing sheets in Kano and was paying us N200 million monthly, but because of the lockdown, the factory is closed, you don’t blame such persons.”
Kuru said, “That is because when we entered into a resolution with him, we knew his sources of repayment and we now know that the sources of repayment are challenged. Obviously, for those kind of obligors, just like what is happening in the banking industry, we have to give them respite and a moratorium of about six months.
“And if in six months this virus doesn’t go away, you may have to extend it. So, we have to give such persons moratorium to the extent that this pandemic is addressed. This is one angle. Another angle are those obligors that have refused to sit down with AMCON to negotiate.
“Those ones, you have to continue fighting them, regardless of the pandemic. That is because, even when there was no pandemic, they were hiding. So, we have to continue pursuing them. If it is their assets or anything we can hold on to, we would seize them through the legal system.”
On how much AMCON has been able to recover Kuru said, “So far we have recovered N1.1 trillion as at the end of first quarter 2020 and that was before the lockdown was announced. But, even within the lockdown, we have recovered between N5 and N10 billion.
“There are some people that are still meeting their obligation and there are assets that were forfeited that we have sold. So, even within this period, money is still coming in.”
Kuru however said these were not favourable times to sell an asset because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Nevertheless, he described moves to sell Polaris Bank as work in progress.
He said, “Like I always tell people, once you put money in a bank, the most fundamental is that you try and see how you can improve the financials of the bank. This is because those that would come to buy the bank would not be buying it based on the money that you put in there, but they are buying the value that has been created in the bank. So, you try to see how you can improve on the financials.
“But once you improve on the financials, you don’t keep it too long because nobody wants a temporary situation. The staff would not want a temporary situation; the board would not want a temporary situation; the exco and even the customers. And you know banking is a highly competitive sector, if the tag, ‘AMCON Bank’ hangs around you, it becomes a challenge, even in marketing. So, we are hoping that very soon something would happen.”