Piqued by the fact that the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) has continually been burdened with the slow pace of concluding its debt recovery actions in courts, the Corporation has approached the National Assembly to accommodate AMCON in the provisions of the newly amended BOFIA (2020), which sets up Special Tribunals for hearing financial matters emanating from the financial institutions.
Making a presentation before the Senate Committee on Banking, Insurance and other Financial Institutions at the National Assembly, Mr Ahmed Kuru, Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of AMCON said this proposed amendment and a few others will be critical to AMCON’s expected deliverables as they would enable the Corporation to resolve the debts as quicker than necessary.
The Senate Committee chaired by Senator Uba Sani (Kaduna State) had invited AMCON top executives and that of other key stakeholders/sister agencies of the Federal Government including the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), the Ministry of Finance and the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) for another engagement for a continued engagement regarding the amendment of the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria Act No.3 (Amendment Bill) 2021 with the Senate Committee on banking insurance & other financial institutions. The bill was originally sponsored by Senator Opeyemi Bamidele (Ekiti State).
Marshalling a very strong case during the presentation, most of which received the backing of all stakeholders in attendance, Kuru said, “By the following introduction of new sections, the Corporation is seeking to be accommodated by the provisions of the newly amended BOFIA (2020), which sets up Special Tribunals for hearing financial matters emanating from the financial institutions.
“The designation of a special tribunal for financial cases immediately assumes the achievement of quicker resolution of matters in Court as the Judges are designated to hear only such financial matters. Moreover, BOFIA prescribes a maximum period of six months to conclude matters brought before the Tribunal. AMCON being accommodated under this Tribunal will assist AMCON with its speed of recovery.
“To enable AMCON succeed in its national call to duty, AMCON solicits the continued support of this esteemed Distinguished Senate Committee on Banking, Insurance & Other Financial Institutions with the proposed amendments for adoption.”
The AMCON Boss who attended the Senate engagement with other top officials of AMCON including Mr Aminu Ismail, the Executive Director, Operations, the Company Secretary, Mr Saidu Jallo; Head, Legal Mr Albert Nwanozie; AMCON Chief Finance Officer, Mr Gbenga Ataiyero and Sa’ad Ahmed, Head, Intergovernmental Department disclosed that the areas, which AMCON is seeking intervention by the National Assembly include the Cessation of the Resolution Cost Fund/defined tenure; dissolution date of the Corporation, recovery through special tribunal for enforcement and recovery of eligible loans as well as certificate of Sale of Certificate of Transfer as a valid registrable instrument for AMCON.
Providing justification on the proposal, Kuru reminded the Committee that Section 61 (b) in ascribing a tenure for the operation of the Resolution Cost Fund describes same as a period of 10 years from the calendar year 2010 but may be extended by not more than a maximum of five years by the National Assembly. This, he said was done under the assumption that the debt obligations will be extinguished within 10 years.
“The effect of the above description therefore is that the tenure ascribed for the life of the Resolution Cost Fund has elapsed by time. Going by this, the tenure expired in December 2020. The need for the amendment of the provision of the Act therefore becomes inevitable towards ensuring a sustained operation of the activities of AMCON,” Kuru stated.
According to him, it is worrisome that if AMCON disposes all the assets securing the loans, it can only realize slightly above N1trillion with the liability in excess of N5.4trillion. He noted that the AMCON Act encourages asset tracing for accounts for the gap, plus contributions from the financial institutions including the CBN.
He however regretted that as at today, the contributors have not been able to meet the expected yearly amounts, which he said is mainly due to the fact that the assumptions have not materialized. “Therefore, the only remedy is to provide an inbuilt legal mechanism whereby they continue to contribute in addition to recoveries until the whole debt is paid, otherwise the obligation falls on taxpayers,” Kuru concluded.
It would be recalled that AMCON purchased 12,743 NPLs or EBAs worth N3.8 trillion from 22 Eligible Financial Institutions (EFIs) for a purchase price of N1.8 trillion. The purchases are covered by various collaterals. Of this number, AMCON has so far resolved about 4,000 EBAs while more than 8,000 EBAs are still outstanding. AMCON has also mapped out about 6,000 accounts for the Asset Management Partners (AMPs.)
The Corporation had to inject a total sum of N2.2 trillion to 10 Nigerian banks – bridged and owned banks (intervened banks) – bringing Net Book Value (NAV) to Zero. The Corporation recently took over Skye Bank (now Polaris) under the bridged bank concept of the CBN and NDIC. The Bank had stabilized and operating efficiently.