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AMCON: 350 Nigerians owe lenders N3.6trn

The Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) has said that only 350 Nigerians are responsible for 82 per cent (N3.6 trillion) of its N4.4 trillion debt portfolio.

 

 

The Group Head of AMCON Enforcement, Mr. Joshua Ikioda, who stated this in a presentation he made at the just-concluded two-day training for Federal High Court Legal Assistants and Court Registrars in Abuja, called on all agencies of the Federal Government and all stakeholders to join the Corporation’s debt recovery drive as not recovering its huge total current exposure, will be bad for the country’s economy.

 

Ikioda contended that it would not be fair to allow this crop of obligors that have collectively destroyed the commonwealth of Nigerians escape justice, which is why AMCON is calling on all sister agencies to support the recovery drive. He stressed that the Corporation was determined to recover these debts because the money belongs to Nigerian taxpayers.

 

According to him, the N4.4 trillion, which is owed AMCON, going by the 2021 budget estimates, rivals the entire budget of the 36 states of the federation.

 

Ikioda said that the amount is also bigger than the entire 2021 capital expenditure budget of the Federal Government, which stands at N3.85 trillion, adding that it is also bigger than the N3.12 trillion for total foreign debt service for 2021 and personnel cost of N3.7 trillion.

 

He noted that if the colossal debt is recovered, it would be enough to complete the revival of the moribund Ajaokuta Steel Company and construction of many more of such projects.

 

Similarly, he pointed out that the huge debt, if recovered, would be enough to capitalise over two million micro businesses with N2 million cash injection each or 200,000 small and medium enterprises (SMEs) with N20 million per SME, which would create over 10 million jobs in the country, thereby ensuring that unemployed youths, who are involved with all sorts of violent crimes, would be engaged positively.

In his keynote address at the beginning of the training, AMCON’s MD/CEO, Mr. Ahmed Kuru, said the Corporation cannot over flog the important role of the judiciary in national development.

 

Kuru, who was represented by Dr. Eberechukwu Uneze said: “We are just a government recovery agency saddled with the responsibility of purchasing non-performing loans from banks and ensuring it is paid back using the instrumentality of the law.

 

Unfortunately, it did not turn out to be that easy, through the instrumentality of the courts as we encountered a lot of challenges. “The obligors get wiser by the day, deliberately causing orchestrated legal delays knowing that AMCON has a sunset date.

 

The Act was amended in 2015 to address some of the encountered challenges, again obligors got wiser, hence necessitating another amendment in 2019, all with the single objective of recovering the loans bought from banks in order to settle our debt without recourse to taxpayers money, this outstanding exposure is not a small amount of money.

 

“…Due to the limited lifespan of AMCON, there is a need for speedy and simplified litigation process. The reason is clear: AMCON is a special purpose vehicle for the recovery of ‘toxic’ debts.

 

The debts are so bad that government had to purchase them to prevent a collapse of the economy. AMCON’s mandate is, therefore, to recover these debts for our common survival to be guaranteed.

 

The rationale behind the AMCON regime is, therefore, to quickly recover the bad debts within a legal framework that ensures speed without compromising fair hearing. “AMCON jurisprudence is primarily regulated by the AMCON Act 2010 (as amended in 2015 and 2019),  Federal High Court Practice Directions of 2013 and The Federal High Court AMCON Rules 2018.

The Directions and the Rules have introduced a new culture of expediency in determining AMCON matters at the Federal High Court. Therefore, it is imperative for you to understand the AMCON spirit, which means speed and efficiency.” Insisting that AMCON needs all hands to be on deck, the AMCON CEO added:

 

“The amended AMCON Act 2019 was a robust attempt to address the shortcomings in the erstwhile AMCON Instruments i.e., the 2010 Principal enactment and the 2015 amendment. Recognizing the challenges inherent in these Instruments that undermine the realization of the AMCON mandate, the AMCON Act was further amended in 2019.

 

The objective of this amendment is to enhance the corporation’s capacity and improve the supporting mandate for enforcement. “I must also reiterate that the amendment also became very necessary given our experience with recalcitrant debtors who constantly try to avoid, circumvent and totally deny commitments and obligations.

 

These obligors rather than settle their indebtedness, prefer to rely on technicalities to frustrate the corporation from acting against them.

 

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