A bill seeking to amend the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria, AMCON, Act on Tuesday scaled second reading at the Senate. The bill was sponsored by Michael Bamidele, senator representing APC-Ekiti. Leading debate on the bill, Bamidele said the aim of the amendment was to update few clauses in the act inhibiting operations of AMCON.
“Therefore, the proposed amendment is designed to allow for more flexibility in the tenor of this key funding provision,” he said.
Bamidele said that the amendment would strengthen AMCON in stabilising Nigeria’s banking sector and empower it in carrying out its functions of assets and debt recovery.
He said AMCON was a very important and strategic national institution that must be strengthened to effectively contribute to the stabilisation of the banking sector in Nigeria.
“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 recover, 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,” he said.
Contributing, Uba Sani APC senator from Kaduna said AMCON largely depended on resources from the resolution fund, and failure to amend the act would certainly affect its operation and may force government to bear the entire cost of debt management.
Adamu Aliero, APC senator from Kebbi, said the amendment would give power to AMCON to recover all debts that were given to private individuals and companies.
“I don’t know whether my colleagues are aware of the information circulating in social media and even in the conventional media that 20 individuals have refused to pay back about N7.5 trillion loan from banks in Nigeria.
“This is more than what we spend as capital budget of this country, and these individuals are well to do individuals and they are walking free on our streets. They have huge sums of money, some of them have even transferred these money abroad. There’s nothing toxic about it, the money is with them, they have used it and they don’t want to pay.
“They are using all tactics to ensure that they block the investigation agencies like EFCC from recovering the loan.
“They have even gone to court to get all kinds of injunctions stopping AMCON from recovering the loan,” he said.
President of Senate Ahmad Lawan, thereafter referred the bill to the Senate Committee on Banking, Insurance and other Financial Institutions for further legislative work.
The Committee, Chaired by Uba Sani APC senator from Kaduna was to report back to plenary in four weeks.