Tuesday, 23 March 2021

Senate moves to recover N16 trillion AMCON loans


The Senate on Tuesday considered a bill seeking to empower the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) in the aspect of assets recovery, as well as strengthen it against economic sabotage by debtors with unpaid loans to the tune of about N16 trillion naira.

The AMCON Amendment Bill 2021, which scaled the second reading on the floor, was sponsored by Senator Michael Opeyemi Bamidele (APC, Ekiti Central).

Leading a debate on the bill, Bamidele said, “the main aim of the proposed amendment is to update a few clauses in the Act that have been hampering the Operations of the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria.”

According to him, “under the current Act, the continued smooth operation of AMCON is threatened by the tenor put on a key funding provision for AMCON.”

“Therefore, the proposed amendment is designed to allow for more flexibility in the tenor of this key funding provision.”

Bamidele further stressed that the amendment would strengthen AMCON in stabilizing Nigeria’s banking sector and empower the agency in carrying out its functions of assets and debt recovery.

He said, “Mr President, Distinguished Colleagues, AMCON is a very important and strategic national institution that must be strengthened to effectively contribute to the stabilization of the banking sector in Nigeria.

Contributing, Senator Uba Sani (APC, Kaduna Central) said that, “AMCON largely depends on resources from the resolution fund, and failure to extend this amendment bill will certainly affect the operation of AMCON, and it may force the government to bear the entire cost of debt management of AMCON.”

Also, Senator Adamu Aliero (APC, Kebbi Central) disclosed that the amendment “will give teeth to AMCON to recover all debts that were given to private individuals and also companies.”

Aliero said, “Mr President, I don’t know whether my colleagues are aware of the information circulating in social media and even in the conventional media, where only twenty individuals have taken about N7.5 trillion naira.

“Mr President, this is more than what we spend as the capital budget of this country, and these individuals are well to do individuals, and they are walking on our streets.

“They have huge sums of money. Some of them have even transferred these monies abroad. There’s nothing toxic about it, the money is with them, they have used it, and they don’t want to pay.

“They are using all tactics to ensure that they block the investigation agencies like EFCC from recovering the loan. They have even gone to court to get all kinds of injunctions stopping AMCON from recovering the loan.

“Mr President, we should all support this amendment, it will make Nigeria to be sanitized financially, and banks would even be in a better position to give loans to people bearing in mind that there must be collateral for giving such loans.”

However, Ahmad Lawan, the Senate President, referred the bill after it scaled second reading to the Committee on Banking, Insurance and other Financial Institutions for further legislative work.

The Committee, which is Chaired by Senator Sani, was given one month to turn in its report.

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