The Chairman of the House of Representatives committee on Banking and Other Ancillary Institutions, Eze Nwachukwu Eze, has assured that given the current economic challenges facing Nigeria, the 10th National Assembly must work to ensure that the legislative frame work supports the effective functioning of institutions such as the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria, AMCON. This will be done to collaboratively enact policies that enhance AMCONs capacity to execute its recovery mandate efficiently and transparently.
Nwachukwu gave the assurance in Enugu on Sunday at the first 10th House of Representatives Committee’s retreat with the management of AMCON. The retreat has “Navigating Nigeria’s Financial Ecosystem for a Sustainable Future: The Role of AMCON,” as its theme.
Declaring the retreat open, Eze said, “Our nation stands at a critical juncture in its economic development, and the financial sector plays a pivotal role in shaping the trajectory of our economic future. The banking industry, in particular, is a cornerstone of our economic stability and growth. As we navigate the intricate web of financial intricacies, we must acknowledge the indispensable role that AMCON plays in ensuring the stability and sustainability of our financial ecosystem.
“As we are all aware, the financial sector is the heartbeat of any thriving economy, and its stability is paramount to the overall well-being of our nation. AMCON, as a key player in this ecosystem, has been tasked with the responsibility of managing distressed assets, mitigating financial risks, and contributing to the stability of the banking and financial institutions in Nigeria. AMCON, established in 2010, was created with the foresight to address the challenges posed by non-performing loans and distressed assets within the banking sector. The Corporation has been a fulcrum in maintaining financial stability and fostering investor confidence in our banking sector.
“As the Committee overseeing banking and ancillary institutions, we recognize the significance of a robust and resilient financial system. We have to ensure that the legislative framework supports the effective functioning of institutions like AMCON. We must work collaboratively to enact policies that enhance the Corporation’s capacity to carry out its mandate efficiently and transparently.”
Insisting that it is the responsibility of the National Assembly to ensure that institutions of the government delivered on their mandates, Eze again added, “The House of Representatives Committee on Banking and Ancillary Institutions is committed to fostering a conducive environment for AMCON to carry out its mandate effectively. Our committee is poised to collaborate closely with AMCON to address the challenges facing them and implement strategic initiatives that will enhance its role in ensuring a sustainable future for Nigeria. We understand that navigating the complexities of the financial ecosystem requires a holistic approach, and as such, we are prepared to work hand-in-hand with AMCON to develop, and implement policies that will promote financial stability and economic prosperity.”
In continuation, the chairman added, “AMCON is like a rescue boat that is on a mission to make sure that the ship does not sink. Now we have also discovered that this rescue boat is facing some activities from some players (the debtors) that want the rescue boat to sink, so that both the rescue boat and the mother ship will all sink into the sea. When that happens, we all here and those that are not here will suffer for it. But we cannot allow that to happen. AMCON came when it was necessary because the financial system was on the verge of collapsing leading the government of the day at that time in the history of our country to seat up AMCON.
“As member of this committee, we salute the visionary leadership of our leaders who came up with this novel idea in 2010, and also thank God for the specie of Nigerians, this special human beings carefully selected to be the managers of this all-important government agency, most especially this current Management led by Ahmed Lawan Kuru, that have led AMCON to where we are now.
“Nigerians may not understand it, but when we host the bankers’ summit, which the 10th National Assembly is planning, which I have discussed with the Speaker of House of Representatives, Tajudeen Abbas and he is very much ready to give us all the necessary support, there are so many things that have gone on in the financial sector, and are still happening that would be disclosed at that summit.
In that gathering, we would want the Management of AMCON to be part of it. We would want AMCON to come and make presentations and release the full list of the 350 top debtors of Nigerian who have destroyed our financial system, and no power can stop that banker’s summit. At the end of the summit, we would ask Nigerians the sort of magic they were expecting you, AMCON, to perform in this kind of situation that you find yourself. So, the political will power to go after these debtors no matter who they are will be created…We want you rest assured that the legislative aspects would be taken care of…,” he stated.
Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer AMCON, Ahmed Lawan Kuru, in his submission explained that was an honour for the Management of AMCON to attend the first retreat with the members of the 10th House of Representatives Committee on Banking & Ancillary Institutions.
Reminding the participants, the long historical background that led to the establishment of AMCON in 2010, Kuru informed that the Corporation irrespective of the challenges of debt recovery has to date, made recoveries in the sum of N1.8trillionn. Of the total recovery, cash recovery he explained represents 42%, sale of four bridged banks 14%, sales of proprietary shares 11%, clawback & repurchases 10%, asset sales & rentals 10%, investment income 7%, proprietary assets (unsold) 3% proprietary shares (unsold) 3% and divestment from portfolio 0.4%.
According to him, the House Committee needs to weigh to see how it can shorten the long route through litigation that AMCON must face towards recovery. Kuru added, “Most of our activities are done through the Courts, particularly when all resolution efforts have collapsed. AMCON currently has over 2000 cases in the Courts (Federal High Court, the Appeal Courts, and Supreme Court).
“Obligors hide under legal technicalities to tie AMCON in Courts, exploring the loopholes in the Act prior amendment. Honorable members, with time obligors get wiser, which necessarily requires amendment of our Act. In quite a lot of instances, we only enjoy the protection of our committee from other avoidable interventions. AMCON enjoys Special Powers, however, which can only be exercised with the support of the Judiciary.”