The Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) says it has submitted a list of 1,000 chronic debtors to the National Assembly as part of its strategy to help intensify its recovery of over N4.4 trillion outstanding debt portfolio in the country.
The debt management agency told members of the House of Representatives Committee on Banking and Currency at the just concluded retreat of the committee in Lagos that the list was handed over shortly after President Muhammadu Buhari signed into law the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (Amendment) Act, amending the AMCON Act No.4, 2010.
The AMCON Act provides for the extension of the tenor of the Resolution Cost Fund (RCF) and grants access to the Special Tribunal established by the Banks and other Financial Institutions Act 2020, which confers on AMCON the power to among other “to take possession, manage, foreclose or sell, transfer, assign or otherwise deal with the asset or property used as security for Eligible Bank Assets (EBAs), and related matters.’’
The Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Banking and Currency, Victor Nwokolo representing Ika Northeast/Ika South Constituency in the 9th National Assembly received the list of recalcitrant AMCON obligors from the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of the Corporation, Ahmed Lawan Kuru.
Nwokolo said the Committee called for the list to enable the National Assembly know those holding the country to ransom, to enable them meet with relevant agencies of the Federal Government on how to further deal with the debtors to ensure AMCON realized its mandate in the overall interest of the Nigeria economy.
The House Committee Chairman said despite operating under very difficult condition since its establishment, AMCON has made significant progress, even under the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, which practically shut down the economy.
He said the harsh economic realities caused by COVID-19 meant the debt recovery effort by AMCON was further compounded, which is why the National Assembly was looking at ways of further supporting its recovery drive.
The National Assembly, Nwokolo said, was considering punitive measures in dealing with those whose names made the top 1,000 AMCON debtors’ list, adding he was happy President Muhammadu Buhari signed the Amended AMCON Act into Law to help AMCON to recover the huge outstanding debt.
Making the presentation, Kuru said to help AMCON succeed in its national call to duty, it was soliciting the continued support of the lawmakers and Judiciary.
He urged the judicial officers to respect the provisions of the law requiring them to fast-track cases before them, issue certificate of judgement on properties, which the Corporation has no collateral and demand debtors to deposit Judgment sum before proceeding to appeal any judgement.
Even though the judiciary, Kuru observed, have been of tremendous support, Kuru told the National Assembly members that AMCON’s debt recovery effort was presently heavily dependent on the Judiciary in the country.
He said with over 4,000 cases in court, AMCON was currently being challenged with so many issues, including unperfected title documents of some properties from Eligible Financial Institutions (EFIs), which often prevent or elongate the completion of the sale of some of the assets.
The other challenges include a general market perception that AMCON assets are distressed, hence buyers request for deeply discounted prices, and the basis for pricing of EBA’s at the point of purchase was the valuation of the assets, just to mention a few.
Kuru said due to the socio-economic downturn, the market values of assets have significantly reduced, lower than the valuation at the point of Eligible Bank Asset (EBA) purchase, making it extremely difficult to consummate sales transactions.
With the support of the National Assembly and the Judiciary, Kuru said recovering the total current exposure on all EBAs, put at about N4.4 trillion would be realised before the sunset period.