The National Assemble has been enjoined to as a matter of urgency empower the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria, AMCON, to go after recalcitrant obligors.
Rafiu Ibrahim, the chairman, Senate Committee on Banking, Insurance and other Financial Institutions, made the plea on Thursday in Lagos.
Mr Ibrahim, who delivered a keynote address at the opening of a two-day retreat on the importance of AMCON Act Amendment Bill, said the corporation had been up and doing.
He said AMCON had tried its best over the past seven years to resolve those debts, but was still encountering resistance from obligors.
He said that the only way AMCON could meet its mandate of achieving the mandate for which it was set up in 2010.
He said the Senate under the leadership of Bukola Saraki had no option than to urge AMCON to compile and publish the list of all debtors in major daily newspapers in the country.
The move, he said, would place before Nigerians who were holding the nation’s economy to ransom since they account for 80 per cent of AMCON’s N4.8trillion obligation.
He said that the Upper Chamber, as part of its oversight function, had decided that AMCON in its lifespan, must be given all the support it required to perform as expected by all Nigerians.
He, however, urged the management of AMCON to collaborate with the other relevant bodies to propose that the President issued an executive order on seizure of assets of persons who were indebted to AMCON.
He said that Federal Ministry of Finance, FMF, office of the Attorney General of the Federation and Central Bank of Nigeria should champion the move for the order.
Mr Ibrahim said the upper chamber planned to have serious discussions with major stakeholders such as the CBN, the FMF, the Nigerian Deposit Insurance Corporation, NDIC, and relevant committees from the legislature among others.
This, he said, would allow them to deliberate on issues hindering AMCON from performing optimally which include the funding of its model to enable the recovery agency finish its assignment.
“The Upper Chamber will at this stage bare its fangs by amending the AMCON Act because AMCON has been a key stabilizing and re-vitalizing tool in the Nigerian financial system.
“It will be supported by the legislature to enable the corporation achieve its statutory objectives,” Ibrahim said.
He said the legislature supported the proposed plan by AMCON to publish the list of the 350 obligors that accounts for nearly 80 per cent of the total huge debt of the corporation.
Earlier, the Managing Director of AMCON, Ahmed Kuru, reminded the committee that failure by the corporation to recover its debt, principally owed to the CBN, could not be quantified beyond economic cost.
Mr Kuru said that AMCON’s total debt obligation of N4.8 trillion represented more than 55 per cent of the 2018 national budget.
Given the current demands on the Federal Government, Mr Kuru said he was convinced that the government could afford to check AMCON’s debt in the short term.
He said: “It was for that reason, AMCON, after seven years of negotiating with the obligors with no commensurate recovery result, has decided to change its strategy.
“The corporation now pays strict attention to enforcements as a way of compelling, especially the recalcitrant obligors to come and pay up their debts.
“One of the major areas for amendment is the matter of vesting proprietary interest of all collateral assets acquired by AMCON from commercial banks.
“The proposed amendment will have retrospective effect.
“The vesting of proprietary interest of all collateral assets in the resolution vehicle was implemented in Malaysia and was instrumental to their success in recovering debt obligations.
“Our second challenge has to do with the disposal of assets due to the economic downturn.”