Teddy Nwanunobi, Abuja
Senate on Monday disclosed that the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) has its support towards recovery of N5.4 trillion debts owed the corporation by corporate debtors in the country.
Senate’s support for AMCON on the debt recovery was disclosed by its Managing Director, Ahmed Kuru, after an interactive session with the Senate Committee on Banking, Insurance and other Financial Institutions, chaired by Senator Rafiu Ibrahim.
Kuru who lamented that most of the debtors of the N5.4 trillion debts, are flying in private jets and living in big mansions, said the senate was really disturbed by the ugly development and ready to do anything under the the law to ensure that the debt is recovered.
“We have seen that most of the debtors in AMCON are big men that fly in private jets, live in big mansions and they taken money and they are not paying back but the senate is really disturbed and they are ready to do anything under the law to ensure that the N5.4 trillion that is outstanding obligation of AMCON is repaid.
“The passion they have shown to us today is unprecedented. Because we show to them in its raw form, the challenge that we are having, particularly now that the economy is not doing very well. And where you have less than 5 percent, less than 300 people, accounting for more than 80 percent of the outstanding obligation of AMCON. That is very disturbing,” he said.
He, however, added that the position and body language of President Muhammadu Buhari, is already helping the corporation towards recovering the debt as , according to him, some of the debtors already making positive move in that direction.
“The position of the President is helping us to do most of the work that we are doing currently. There are quite a lot of people that were shying away from AMCON before but looking and seeing the body language of the President, they have realised that it is important for them to come and talk to AMCON.
“It is not criminal to borrow money it is only inappropriate not to come and pay those funds because these funds ultimately if we don’t pay them, somehow they carry government guarantee. So, the current body language of the government and from what I have seen from the Senate, there is a harmony and consensus as to the fact that these funds must be paid back,” he said.
When asked whether there is a time limit set for the debt recovery by the corporation, Kuru said there was no time limit but it is a process that must begin and sustained.
“When you are talking about N5.4 trillion, you don’t recover that in a day, nether do you recover that in a year. Our intention is not to kill any business, our intention is for the businesses to perform, if there is any help they want from us as AMCON, we help them but the accounts must perform. So, it’s not an event, it’s a process.
“Because somebody owes us N120 billion, you don’t expect anybody to bring that in one year. But come and talk to us so that we have an agreement and understanding. And then your business is running and you are paying obligation and everybody is happy,” he said.
He disclosed that some of the companies/banks acquired by the corporation after their liquidation have been sold and that even some that are not still performing, are being programmed for another round of repackaging.
“Oceanic Bank has been sold to Eco Bank. But there are quite a lot of companies that we have intervened. Some of them are not performing. That is why we are looking at them again to see what we need to do to get then perform and because of the economic realities of today, before oil was $110, now it’s around $30.
“So, obviously, if you are in oil and gas sector, automatically, your cash flow changes. So, we are just aligning with the realities of the situation because AMCON is supposed to help business and help government that is precisely what we are doing,” he added.