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N5tr debt: AMCON seeks Senate support in recovery drive

The Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) is seeking the support of  the Senate  in recovering  the over N5trillion debts in its books.

Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of AMCON, Mr. Ahmed Lawan Kuru (ALK), called for the Senate support  when he led the management of the agency to appear before a technical session of the Senate Committee on Banking Insurance and other Financial Institutions in Abuja.

The committee met to review the impact of COVID-19 on AMCON policies and process – with a view to repositioning  AMCON for optimal performance amidst the pandemic.

Kuru pleaded with the committee  to “pile pressure on some of our obligors” who, according to him  ” 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.”

He said that  recovering the huge outstanding  would have a  positive impact  on  the national  economy which  ”like other economies has been further challenged by the outbreak of the dreaded coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.”

Kuru said that  although the Corporation had, with the aid of the National Assembly, sought to address some of these challenges in the 2019 Amendment Act, the Senate needed  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.

He put  AMCON’s assets under management (AUM) at  about N136.73billion, while the agency has about N112.03bn worth of proprietary assets.

The AMCON CEO added, “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.”

The Chairman of the committee, Senator Uba Sani, said  committee and AMCON had identified the strategies being employed by debtors to stall the repayment of loans, including the dragging of court cases for many years.

He said: “The Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria has remained at the receiving end of these well laid and orchestrated acts of economic sabotage.”

He said the engagement with the management of AMCON has provided a window of opportunity for the committee to brainstorm on key issues and concerns in maintaining the continued stability of the financial sector, particularly the banking industry. He further explained that the meeting also addressed the continued reduction of high rate of Non-performing Loans (NPLs) as well the challenges of AMCON, notably policies and procedures, implementation strategies and assets recovery in the heat of COVID-19 pandemic.

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