The Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON), Ahmed Kuru, has sought the intervention of lawmakers in recovering close to N5trn in debts that usually drag on in court due legal loopholes and technicalities.
Kuru led the management of AMCON to a technical session of the Senate Committee on Banking Insurance and other Financial Institutions in Abuja at the weekend.
The committee met to review the impact of COVID-19 on AMCON policies and process – with the view to reposition AMCON for optimal performance amidst the pandemic.
He said, “We want the 9th Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to pile pressure on some of our obligors through the Senate Committee on Banking Insurance and Other Financial Institutions under the leadership of Senator Uba Sani as Chairman.
The Chairman of the committee, Senator Uba Sani, said the committee and AMCON have identified the strategies being employed by debtors to stall the repayment of loans, including the dragging of court cases for many years.
Sani said, “Since the pandemic is not in a hurry to go away, we must continue to initiate and finetune measures aimed at stabilizing the economy. Stakeholders must work together in ensuring that government efforts are optimally achieved with tangible and visible results.”
Kuru told the senators that, “Some of these obligors are very important members of the society and, as distinguished senators, I know they have all it takes to intervene and even compel AMCON obligors to meet their obligation. This is because we cannot over emphasise the importance of recovering the huge outstanding and the positive impact it will have in the Nigerian economy, which like other economies have been further challenged by the outbreak of the dreaded coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.”
Kuru however told the committee that although the Corporation has, with the aid of the National Assembly sought to address some of these challenges in the 2019 Amendment Act, the Senate needs to do more to support AMCON recovery as some of the top obligors of AMCON still hide under legal technicalities to tie AMCON in courts, exploring the loopholes in the Act prior amendment, which is why the Corporation has witnessed slow judicial process including undue adjournment, lack of hearing date and adequate understanding of AMCON Act among other issues.
But in spite of all the challenges and frustrations, which have been heightened by the ravaging pandemic, said the corporation is not deterred because as at August 2020, AMCON’s assets under management (AUM) amounted to about N136.73bn, while the agency has about N112.03bn worth of propriety assets.
He said, “COVID-19 pandemic has had a monumental impact on the globe and Nigeria in particular. Not only has it adversely affected the global economy, but the entire health system of the world has remained on its knees.
“AMCON, one of the institutions of government saddled with the responsibility of revitalising Nigeria’s economy is not immune to this monumental global disaster. The pandemic has impacted negatively on the various sectors of our economy, particularly the sectors, which AMCON is substantially exposed to, like Aviation, Oil & Gas, Manufacturing, and Retail sectors.”
“The continuous rise in inflation and Naira depreciation has also affected the purchasing power of the public thereby affecting obligor’s capacity to repay. Noting the untoward hardship caused by COVID-19 pandemic on most businesses and indeed the economy at large, the Corporation has begun consideration of granting moratorium to deserving obligors that had hitherto shown commitment/seriousness towards resolving their indebtedness. On our day-to-day operations, the Corporation has taken several measures to withstand and curtail the spread of this pandemic.”