Senate may expand AMCON’s powers, functions …As corporation solicits strong legal framework
From left: Executive Directors, Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria AMCON, Mr. Kola Ayeye, Dr. Eberechukwu Uneze, Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Ahmed Kuru, Chairman Senate Committee on Banking, Insurance and other Financial Institutions, Senator Rafiu Ibrahim and Mr. Aminu Ismail, AMCON Executive Director at the just concluded retreat of the Senate Committee at the NAF Conference Centre, Abuja, yesterday.
The Senate, Nigeria’s upper legislative chamber has said it is planning an expansion of the powers and functions of the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria AMCON, beyond its current asset recovery functions.
Meanwhile, the corporation has made a case for a very strong legislative framework, which would for instance make it mandatory for all AMCON cases to terminate at the Appeal Court, saying that many of its obligors have capitalised on some loopholes in the legal system to hold the corporation to ransom.
Chairman, Senate Committee on Banking, Insurance and other Financial Institutions, Senator Rafiu Ibrahim, who made this disclosure, said that the 8th Senate, under the leadership of Dr. Bukola Saraki would do everything to empower AMCON to enable realise it’s tough mandate.
According to him, since its establishment few years ago, AMCON has played a key role in stabilising and re-vitalising the nation’s financial system and therefore requires more support from the National Assembly.
Senator Ibrahim, who spoke at the just concluded retreat of the committee holding at the NAF Conference Centre Abuja, stated that the upper chamber as part of its oversight functions has discovered that AMCON requires more support from the legislature if indeed the corporation would succeed in its sunset clause, as expected by Nigerians.
While presenting a keynote address at the retreat entitled: “AMCON as a Catalyst for Economic Recovery,” the Senator said: “The upper chamber is intending to hold serious discussions as soon as possible, which would focus on further enhancing AMCON recovery mandate”.
“There is no better time to redress this issue than now that the country is technically coming out of recession. Since inauguration, AMCON has been a key stabilising and re-vitalising tool in the Nigerian financial system and requires more support from the legislature to achieve its statutory objectives. This is the main reason why this retreat has been convened with the Senate Committee on Banking, Insurance and other Financial Institutions.
“In this retreat, we hope to make a case for AMCON to take on larger and more proactive economic responsibilities, especially given its special place in the economy. To this end, serious conversation needs to occur on how best AMCON can intervene in the current economic situation of Nigeria beyond asset recovery.”
He further disclosed that the fall out of the discussion at the end of the retreat would lead to pronouncements from the 8th Senate, which would comprehensively empower AMCON to better carry out its functions. Again he affirmed, “…this subject of expanded functions presents an opportunity to further strengthen collaboration and align the objectives of AMCON to the pressing demands of the country”, the chairman said.
He stated that it was safe to say that AMCON has drawn from its proactive and interventional roots in a time of economic crisis for it to take on this new expanded economic role that transcends the banking sector, and seek to revitalise an entire economic system in recession.
He said the 8th Senate is very interested in the activities of AMCON because the leadership of the current Senate from inception conceptualised and mapped out its legislative agenda with economic recovery bill as top priority.
According to him, such bills would help the country to raise credit availability and quality risk assets, which is in line with the job AMCON is doing for the nation.
While commending the management of AMCON led by its Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Ahmed Kuru, for the work done so far despite the challenges that confront them, Senator Ibrahim added, that all stakeholders should indeed support the Senate in its efforts to rebuild the economy.
The MD, who spoke earlier, reminded the Senate Committee that having fully harvested the low hanging fruits in the first and second stages of AMCON operations, the success or failure of the corporation at this stage would be heavily dependent on the legislature as well as the judiciary because most obligors of AMCON are employing different antics in law to tie up the corporation in different courts.
He stated that since AMCON is a creation of the Federal Government through the Act of the National Assembly, the Senate must find a way to encourage the judiciary to apply wisdom on cases involving the corporation by focusing on substance rather the current diversionary tendencies that stall recoveries, thus destabilising the nation’s economy.
“There is need for a change of strategy. This job is not an easy assignment by any definition because every obligor has a perception of AMCON and willing to tie it up in court. That is why you see that every week we have fresh enemies. Therefore we need very strong legislative framework, which would for instance make it possible for all AMCON cases to terminate at the Appeal Court.”
According to him, if the 8th Senate allows the current legal processes on AMCON-related cases to drag-on as it is presently, the corporation may not meet its obligations before its sunset in the next five years, a development that calls for urgent and radical legislative actions.