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Senate moves to recover N16trn AMCON loans



Senate moves to recover N16trn AMCON loans

Opeyemi Bamidele

A bill seeking to empower the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria, AMCON in the aspect of assets recovery, as well as strengthen it against economic sabotage by debtors with unpaid loans to the tune of about N16 trillion, scaled second reading in the Senate.

Sponsored by Senator Opeyemi Bamidele (APC Ekiti Central), the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) Amendment Bill 2021, is aimed at updating a few clauses in the Act that have been hampering the operations of the agency.

Bamidele explained that “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.

According to him, the amendment would strengthen AMCON in stabilizing Nigeria’s banking sector and empower the agency in carrying out its functions of assets and debt recovery.

Contributing, Senator Uba Sani (APC Kaduna Central) emphasized 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.

Senate moves to recover N16trn AMCON loans

Also, Senator Yusuf Abubakar Yusuf (APC Taraba Central) underscored the need for extending the tenor of AMCON, adding that doing so would rescue Nigeria’s financial and banking systems from the burden of loans obtained by individuals.

The lawmaker also called on the Judiciary to work with the intendment of the amendment bill by ensuring that debtors face the weight of the law and are made to pay all loans.

Also contributing, Senator Bala Ibn Na’Allah (APC Kebbi South) called for an insertion of a criminal clause in the amendment bill that makes it possible for debtors to be detained by the courts, and the payment of half the total amount owed made a mandatory condition for granting them bail.

He said: “It is not sufficient enough to extend the tenor of AMCON and give it the power to reinvent and reposition itself so that it can optimally perform.

“If the desire is to recover these loans, we may have to go back to introduce a criminal element into this recovery process.

The Senate President, Dr. Ahmad Lawan, referred the bill after it scaled second reading to the Committee on Banking, Insurance and other Financial Institutions, chaired by Senator Uba Sani for further legislative work and report back in weeks.

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