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Senate Moves To Recover N16trn AMCON Loans

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The Senate, yesterday, considered a Bill seeking to empower the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) in the area of asset recovery, as well as to strengthen the agency against economic sabotage by debtors.

The piece of legislation titled ‘Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) Amendment Bill 2021’, which scaled second reading stage is sponsored by Senator Opeyemi Bamidele (APC, Ekiti Central).

If the amendment eventually scales through, it will help AMCON to recover unpaid loans to the tune of about N16trillion.

Leading the debate on the general principles of the Bill, Bamidele said the main aim of the Bill was to update some clauses in the AMCON Act that have been hampering the operations of the agency

According to the lawmaker, “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,” he added.

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

“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.

“It proved its mettle in the banking crises of 2009. Our economy still grapples with huge challenges. The banking sector is not immune from the difficulties we face. We must therefore review and amend the AMCON Act (2014) in order to reinvent and reposition AMCON to optimally perform its functions.

“In particular, this amendment will strengthen the hands of AMCON in assets recovery. AMCON must be reenergized to tackle the problem of toxic loans.

“Highly placed debtors have been employing different strategies and tactics to stall the repayment of loans. Cases drag on in courts for many years. AMCON has remained at the receiving end of these well laid and orchestrated acts of economic sabotage.

“Mr. President, Distinguished Colleagues, as patriots we have an obligation to empower AMCON and make its assets recovery efforts less cumbersome. We must remove all obstacles to its smooth operations. We must safeguard our banking sector and the economy in these trying times.”

Contributing to the debate, Senator Uba Sani (APC, Kaduna Central) emphasised that, “AMCON largely depend on the 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.”

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

“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 capital budget of in this country, and these individuals are well to do individuals and they are walking on our streets.”

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