National Assembly pledges support for recovery of AMCON’s N5.4tr debt
The House of Representatives, Nigeria’s lower legislative chamber has assured that the 9th National Assembly would take all necessary measures that would support the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria AMCON in recovering the outstanding debt of over N5.4trillioon still in the books of the corporation, which is expected to complete is assignment in the next three years.
Recall that with the assistance of the 8th National Assembly, AMCON had successfully amended its enabling legislation, the AMCON Act, which President Muhammadu Buhari signed into law earlier in the year. The amended Act further provided AMCON with additional powers to deal with the obligors.
Also recall that the corporation had earlier this year raised the alarm many of its chronic debtors made the ministerial nomination list, many of who are in the current federal cabinet while several others occupy prominent government positions both in the executive and legislative arms, which makes the recovery a herculean task.
Chairman, House Committee on Banking and Currency, Hon. Victor Nwokolo, who made the pledge, said that the current National Assembly will take the fight for the recovery of the huge debt from where its predecessors stopped.
Nwokolo who was addressing members of the committee during a retreat in Lagos affirmed that since government is a continuum, the National Assembly through the committee, which has oversight mandate over AMCON would work to ensure that AMCON not only performs its function satisfactorily, but ensure that the corporation delivers on its expected mandate given that AMCON is a creation of the parliament in 2010.
While commending the previous assembly, the management of AMCON under the leadership of Mr. Ahmed Kuru, its Managing Director/CEO, and the executive arm of government for amending the AMCON Act, the chairman said the National Assembly will indeed continue to amend the Act until the federal government achieves that target for which AMCON was created in the first place, which is to stabilise the financial services sector of the economy.
According to him, since the AMCON Act has been amended and already signed into law by President Buhari, the 9th national assembly will continue to strengthen the laws of the country on enforcement.
“Enforcement has become crucial given the tactics of the debtors, which has constrained AMCON from achieving optimum results especially since public funds were used to buy these loans that helped to prevent systemic collapse of the banking sector in Nigeria at the time AMCON was created in 2010”, he said.
Meanwhile, Kuru, who also spoke at the retreat, challenged the lawmakers to consolidate on the gains of the previous national assembly, arguing that it was in the interest of the Nigeria’s economy to recover the debt because AMCON was not established as a charity organisation. He said AMCON raised its funds through: a. Share Capital of N10 billion contributed equally by the Ministry of Finance and Central Bank of Nigeria CBN, six per cent bonds issued for a discounted value of N4.042tn (face value of N5.6tn) for the acquisition of Non-Performing Loans NPLs and the recapitalisation of Eligible Financial Institutions EFIs and N500billion Debenture from the CBN at three per cent annual interest rate, payable in 2021.
Kuru said AMCON purchased 12,743 NPLs or EBAs worth N3.8 trillion from 22 Eligible Financial Institutions EFIs for a purchase price of N1.8 trillion. The purchases are covered by various collaterals. AMCON also capitalised three EFIs and provided financial accommodation to five. The corporation, he added had to inject a total sum of N2.2 trillion to ten banks – bridged and owned banks (intervened banks) – bringing Net Book Value (NAV) to Zero. AMCON he added bought 12,743 Eligible Bank Assets (EBAs) but has so far resolved about 4,000 EBAs while more than 8,000 EBAs are still outstanding just as it mapped out about 6,000 accounts to its Asset Management Partners (AMPs), which has significantly improved recoveries. However, 71 of the EBAs are currently under receivership.
On what he is doing ahead of the sunset date of AMCON, Kuru said: “AMCON is already working with Ernst & Young as (Financial Advisers) to see what we need to do, how we need to work with the Nigerian Insurance Deposit Corporation NDIC and the CBN to align things a little and then at certain point in time liaising with the National Assembly to draw a line.
“My suggestion will be to put all the remaining debt in one vehicle and fling the vehicle to anybody or firm that wants to buy with considerable discount. At that stage maybe it would be wise to do that and then close AMCON. There are funds all over the world that are in search of such opportunity. Then the contributions into the sinking fund from the banks, NDIC and CBN would over the period of two or three years depending on how the rates are adjusted be gradually cleared.”