In a bid to recover the outstanding N5 trillion debt, the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, at the weekend, hinted that the Federal Government would deal decisively with individuals and organisations that made the list of high-profile obligors of Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON). He said they have made it impossible for the corporation to resolve its debt, thereby holding the entire nation to ransom.
FG to shut its doors to debtors: Osinbajo also disclosed plans by the Government to set up an inter-agency collaboration framework that would comprise relevant government ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) and supervised by his office to ensure that those indebted to AMCON are not allowed to do business with the government henceforth.
The Vice President who spoke when he received Board members and Management of AMCON at the State House, Abuja led by the Board Chairman, Dr. Muiz Banire, said the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration will no longer fold its hands and allow a few individuals that owe AMCON huge sums of money walk freely on the streets in the country.
“I think the time has come for us (Federal Government) to set some examples with some of these top debtors of AMCON, which I believe will set a good example and serve as deterrent to others.” – Osinbajo
The Vice President promised that the Federal Government would give AMCON whatever support that is necessary to enable them go after the obligors that have remained recalcitrant despite the olive branch extended to them over the years by the recovery agency of the government.
He said in the next couple of days, he would invite the AMCON team alongside other relevant MDAs to discuss and fine-tune plans on how to ensure AMCON debtors are completely made to face the wrath of the law.
Earlier in his presentation, Banire also highlighted some of the challenges and frustrations faced by AMCON as a result of the attitudes of some debtors who behave as if they are above the law in the country.
Banire said, “AMCON has been able to recover over N1 trillion since inception to 2018-year end. Out of the recovered sum, cash accounted for 60% while non-cash assets such as properties and equity securities accounted for the balance of 40%. Over the same period, AMCON’s repayment of its indebtedness to the CBN was over N1 trillion.
“Despite the successes recorded, the corporation has been facing a number of challenges, which includes obligors resorting to all manner of tactics to avoid honouring their obligations. Whilst some are still enjoying government patronage, others are using the judiciary and adopting on legal technicalities to stall recovery, which is why we need a new strategy to enable AMCON meet its mandate before sunset.” – Banire
Why this matters: AMCON CEO, Ahmed Kuru while acknowledging the Vice President’s support to AMCON, added that he cannot wait for the take-off of the inter-agency collaboration, which would compel all sister agencies to be on the same page in the interest of the country.
Kuru also reminded the Vice President that AMCON’s debts sits on the government’s balance sheet with CBN, and failure to recover may result to serious consequences including recourse to tax payers’ money, which must be avoided. He said for an organisation like AMCON with sunset date, all hands must be on deck to provide the support required. According to him, considering the huge portfolio of debt, no obligor must be allowed to go scot free no matter how highly placed in the society.