The Chairman, Senate Committee on Banking, Insurance and other Financial Institutions, Senator Rafiu Adebayo Ibrahim, has said that Nigeria can be made great again if the legislature as a matter of urgency empowers the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) to go after recalcitrant obligors.
He said that is the only way AMCON can meet its mandate of achieving the tough mandate for which it was set up in 2010.
He said since AMCON over the past seven years have done its best to resolve these debts, but are still encountering resistance from obligor, the 8th Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria under the able leadership of Senator Dr. Olubukola Saraki, would have not option than to urge AMCON to compile and publish the list of all these debtors on major daily newspapers in the country.
The move, he argued would place before Nigerians those who are holding the nation’s economy to ransom since they account for 80 per cent of AMCON’s N4.8trillion obligation.
The Senator, who spoke yesterday at the opening of a two-day retreat at Intercontinental Hotel, Lagos where they convened to discuss the all-important AMCON Act Amendment Bill, hinted that the Upper Chamber, as part of its oversight function, has decided that AMCON at this critical time in its lifespan must be given all the support it requires to perform as expected by all Nigerians.
He, however, urged the Management of AMCON to collaborate with the Federal Ministry of Finance (FMF), the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), and the office of the Attorney General of the Federation to propose that the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces issues an Executive Order on seizure of assets of persons who are indebted to AMCON.
In a keynote address he delivered at the commencement of the retreat, Sen. Ibrahim said the upper chamber is intent on having serious discussions as soon as possible with major stakeholders such as the CBN, the FMF, the Nigerian Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) and relevant committees from the legislature among others, where issues hindering AMCON from performing optimally including the funding model of AMCON would be discussed to enable the recovery agency of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to finish its assignment on a high.
According to him, the Upper Chamber will at this stage bare its fangs by amending the AMCON Act because AMCON has been a key stabilising and re-vitalising tool in the Nigerian financial system and so will be supported by the legislature to enable the Corporation achieve its statutory objectives.
He said the legislature, therefore, supports the proposed plan by AMCON to publish the list of especially the 350 obligors that accounts for nearly 80 percent of the total huge debt of AMCON.
Earlier in his presentation, Mr. Ahmed Kuru, Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, AMCON, reminded the Senate Committee that the ramifications for failure by AMCON to recover its debt, principally owed to the CBN, cannot be quantified as it goes beyond economic cost.
He disclosed that AMCON’s total debt obligation of N4.8trillion represents more than 55 per cent of the 2018 national budget. Given the current demands on the Federal Government, therefore, Kuru said he is convinced that it is doubtful that the government can afford to expense AMCON’s debt in the short term.
It was for that reason, AMCON, after seven years of negotiating with the obligors with no commensurate recovery result, has decided to change its strategy, which now pays strict attention to enforcement as a way of compelling especially the recalcitrant obligors to come and pay up their debts.
To achieve this, however, Kuru said the Corporation will be heavily dependent on the legislature, most especially members of the committee to facilitate the amendment of the AMCON Act since most obligors of AMCON that are politically exposed and business heavyweights now employ different antics in law to tie the Corporation up in courts.
Further highlighting other challenges faced by the Corporation, the AMCON CEO, again said: “One of the major areas for amendment is the matter of vesting proprietary interest of all collateral assets acquired by AMCON from commercial banks. The proposed amendment will have a retrospective effect. The vesting of the proprietary interest of all collateral assets in the resolution vehicle was implemented in Malaysia and was instrumental to their success in recovering debt obligations.
“Our second challenge has to do with the disposal of assets due to the economic downturn. AMCON’s current asset under management (AUM), that is assets obtained from debt resolution, has a book value of N182 billion, which we are unable to sell. Our ability to successfully divest these assets, at competitive market price, is severely hampered by several factors including valuation methodology, unperfected title documents, state of the economy, purchasing power. The third challenge is the uncooperative attitudes of select obligors who are either unwilling and/or unable to settle their indebtedness. Such debtors prefer to resort to all manner of diversionary tactics as opposed to dealing with the problem of their indebtedness. It sees most of them are buying time, to where we do not know.”
Kuru also stated that from all indications, AMCON has in the past seven years exhausted the low hanging fruits and have had to roll up sleeves for a drawn out battle because it has become harder to get obligors to settle their debts. Throwing more light on this, the AMCON boss said: “To clarify, obligors indebted to AMCON for the sum of N1.3 trillion have sued us in various courts in Nigeria raising technicalities to avoid meeting their obligations. This has hampered our recovery efforts and our objective of obtaining the best achievable financial returns on assets acquired from the banks.”
For that reason, he informed that AMCON had presented the issue with 350 accounts that represent about 80 per cent of AMCON’s current exposure of N3 trillion as at May 31, 2018. AMCON, he said is still grappling with the issues that are multi-faceted, which consequently led the Corporation to reposition its debt recovery approach to focus on enforcement against obligors who are not willing to settle amicably.
In conclusion, Kuru said: “I will like to emphasize, once again, that the ramifications for failure by AMCON to recover its debt, principally owed to the CBN, cannot be quantified as it goes beyond economic cost. AMCON’s total debt obligation of N4.8trillion represents more than 55 per cent of the 2018 national budget. Given the current demands on the Federal Government, it is doubtful that it can afford to expense AMCON’s debt in the short term.”
AfDB, GGBI partner to strengthen Africa’s green bond market
The African Development Bank (AfDB) Group, has signed a declaration with the coalition of development finance institutions to promote green bond markets in Africa.
AfDB’s Group Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, Ms Hassatou N’Sele, said this in a statement issued on the bank’s website.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Africa’s engagement in the green bond market currently represents less than one per cent of the more than 2.2 trillion dollar community green bond issued in 2022.
N’Sele said the institutions in the Global Green Bond Initiative (GGBI) comprised the European Investment Bank, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and Italy’s Cassa Depositi e Prestiti.
Others are the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation, Green Climate Fund and Germany’s KfW development bank, while PROPARCO of the AFD Group act as consortium of European development finance institutions.
The AfDB’s chief financial officer signed the declaration with representatives of the coalitions’ institutions on the sidelines of the 2023 UN Climate Change Conference (COP28) in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
N’Sele said the engagement was to tap from the Global Green Bond Initiative technical assistance programme announced by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen in June 2023.
”The Initiative will help private capital flow from institutional investors into climate and environmental projects in EU partner countries, increasing their access to capital.
”Providing technical assistance to green bond issuers in emerging markets and developing economies (EMDEs), and crowding in private investors through a dedicated de-risked fund.
”This will act as an anchor investor in green bonds issued in EMDEs.
“The anticipated impact can be up to 15-20 billion euro in green investments,” she said.
N’Sele said the partners supported the origination of green bonds, development and identification of pipelines of green projects, and the development of credible and coherent green bond frameworks.
“This joint declaration among us to collaborate on technical assistance on green bonds in Africa is our commitment to work together and it is significant and impactful.
”There cannot be impactful development in Africa without vibrant local capital markets,” the AfDB official said.
N’Sele highlighted the AfDB’s engagements in the green bond market, including issuing over 10 billion dollar worth of green and social bbondsin 2022 to support sustainable progress across Africa.
“Let’s help Africa fully leverage the power of green bonds, and we can contribute together towards a sustainable future for Africans,” she said.
Mr Stefano Signore of the European Commission’s partnerships directorate, described the partnership with the AfDB as an important milestone in efforts to mobilise green bonds in emerging developing economies.
Also, representative of the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID) expressed hope that the partnership would contribute to the intensification of climate and environmentally relevant projects.
”We hope to also contribute to pipelines that can set off the mobilisation of the global green bond initiative.”
NIS opens passport office in Ikorodu
The Comptroller- General of Nigeria Immigration Service(CGI), Mrs Caroline Adepoju ,on Friday assured Nigerians that they would get their passports within three weeks of submitting their applications.
Adepoju gave the assurance while inaugurating a new passport office in Igbogbo community in Ikorodu, Lagos State .
Adepoju said passports would now be processed and issued speedily provided applicants submit all the required details in their applications.
She advised the public to ensure that they renew their passports six months before its expiration to avoid problems while applying for visa to some countries.
Adepoju thanked the people of Igbogbo for their support and for providing all that was needed to start operation in the area.
“I thank the traditional ruler and the people of Igbogbo for their support and for ensuring the realisation of this project.
“This is my first assignment after my confirmation as the substantive Controller General of Nigeria Immigration Service.
“I want to advise the public to ensure they renew their passport six months before expiration to avoid being denied visa by some countries,” she said.
Speaking, Gov. Babajide Sanwoolu said the establishment of the passport office in Igbogbo would improve service delivery i to Nigerians and save the people of Igbogbo and environs the stress of traveling far to obtain tbeir passports..
Sanwoolu, represented by Mr Ibrahim Layode, Commussioner for Home Affairs, said the role of Immigration in any country could not be over- emphasised.
He said that the establishment of the passport front office in Igbogbo was a testament to Federal Government’s commitment to providing world -class immigration services in line with global standard.
Also speaking, the council Chairman of Igbogbo Baiyeku Local Counvil Development Area(LCDA) Mr Olusesan Daini, urged the CGI to consider expanding operations at the new passport front office .
Daini said the council would synergise with NIS to ensure the edifice was maintained.
“We will also improve our security architecture to ensure the office is secure.”he said.
He said that the new passport office was a welcome development as residents would no longer have to travel far to obtain or renew their passports.
“The establishment of this passport front office in Igbogbo will improve commercial activities.
“The council will also improve its security architecture to provide adequate security in the area,” he said.
Adeboruwa of Igbogbo, Oba Orimadegun Kasali ,who spoke on behalf of all the traditional rulers in Ikorodu Division , said he was very happy that the passport front office was established in his domain.
He added that it would go a long way in improving commercial activities in the area.
Adeboruwa commended all those who facilitated the establishment of the passport office in the community.
“I cannot say how happy I am today, infact ,this office will put Igbogbo community in world map.
” I appreciate everybody that has contributed in one way or the other to make this a success,especially the family that donated the land .
“I am glad that Igbogbo passport office has come to stay,” he said.
Nigeria, Germany sign Siemens power project accelerated implementation agreement
President Bola Tinubu and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz were witnesses to the signing of an accelerated performance agreement in Dubai on the Siemens power project in Nigeria.
The agreement was signed on the side-line of the on-going 2023 United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP28 by Mr Kenny Anuwe, Managing Director of FGN Power Company on behalf of Nigeria.
Ms Nadja Haakansson, Siemens Energy’s Senior Vice-President and Managing Director for Africa signed on behalf of the German company.
Speaking after signing the agreement, Anuwe highlighted Siemens Energy’s effective delivery of crucial equipment worth more than 63 million Euros to Nigeria since the commencement of the project.
This includes 10 units of 132/33KV mobile substations; three units of 75/100MVA transformers, and seven units of 60/66MVA transformers, currently being installed by FGN Power Company at various sites.
The Dubai agreement was signed to expedite the implementation of the Presidential Power Initiative (PPI) to improve Nigeria’s electricity supply.
The PPI, formerly known as the Nigeria Electrification Roadmap Initiative, was the outcome of the visit by former German Chancellor Angela Merkel to Abuja in August 2018.
An agreement was signed between the governments of Nigeria and Germany in 2019 to improve Nigeria’s power sector.
Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Chief Ajuri Ngelale, stated on Friday in Abuja that since assumption of office, Tinubu had advocated the accelerated realisation and expansion of the PPI.
To achieve this, the project has been a major focal point in three rounds of bilateral discussions at meetings between President Tinubu and the German Chancellor in New Delhi, in Abuja and in Berlin.
The Dubai agreement will facilitate the modernisation and expansion of Nigeria’s electric power transmission grid with full supply, delivery and installation of Siemens-manufactured equipment within 18 to 24 months, Ajuri stated.
It will ensure project sustainability and maintenance with full technology transfer and training of Nigerian engineers at the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), he added.
The project will also focus on identified load demand centres with particular emphasis on economic and industrial hubs nationwide and the execution of new 330kV and 132/33KV substations in target load centres with economic priority.
These are in addition to thousands of kilometres of overhead transmission lines to connect new substations with existing ones, Ajuri also stated.
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