The Federal government has finally shown its readiness to battle loan defaulters who are alleged to be owing several financial institutions billions of Naira. To this extent a Presidential Inter-Agency Committee on recovery of loans granted to commercial banks and corporate organisations by Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) has been set up by the federal government.
This was revealed in a statement made available to the media monday by Mr. Salihu Othman Isah, spokesman of the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami.
The committee, which would be led by the minister was inaugurated on May 19, 2016 in Abuja.
The statement said AMCON was established by the Act of the National Assembly to prevent the collapse of the Nigerian banking sector following the banking crisis as a result of the Bank Consolidation Reforms in 2008.
According to him, the AGF pointed out that the above situation led to huge indebtedness of banks which culminated in the eventual purchase of the toxic loans by AMCON in order to stabilize the banking sector, and by extension the Nigerian economy.
However, the debtors who cut across the aviation, banking and oil and gas sectors failed to repay the loans while some of them had resorted to court actions all in their bid to frustrate the loan recovery efforts of AMCON, stating that in some cases, this was with active conspiracy of some financial institutions among others.
Malami explained that this resulted to Mr. President’s gracious approval and directive for the establishment of an inter-agency committee by President Muhammadu Buhari to effectively pursue the loan recovery.
Among the terms of reference of the committee are to ascertain the current status of AMCON recoveries in terms of achievement from inception to date as well as the total outstanding viz value of assets; and to ascertain how government at various levels can be made to honour their debt obligations to the Corporation.
It is also to request and obtain information from any person or persons and/or entity or entities onshore and offshore with the full support and weight of the federal government and her agencies towards the pursuit and realisation of the committee’s mandate; as well as to assist in third party investigation outside AMCON office relating to obligors and identify the criminal nature of commercial transactions that would assist in pursuing criminal prosecutions.
In addition, the committee would ascertain how government agencies can collaborate to support AMCON’s recovery effort in; (a) ensuring payments due to Obligors are made to AMCON, (b) the possibility of going into a Joint Venture Agreement with AMCON (c) the acquisition of forfeited assets from AMCON and (d) take-over of recalcitrant businesses/companies where feasible.
It is also expected to establish the working framework for the committee such that AMCON could have direct contact with the agencies for assistance and report be made to the committee on achievement and challenges as well as to design and come up with workable strategies to pursue aggressive recovery of the AMCON loans.
Members of the committee include representatives drawn from the following Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) are Mr. Abubakar Malami, Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Federal Ministry of Justice as Chairman, Senator Hadi Sirika, HMinister of State (Aviation), Inspector General of Police, Mr. Solomon Arase and Mr. Ibrahim Magu, Chairman, Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC).
Others are the Alhaji Ahmed Idris, Accountant General of the Federation, Dr. Ibe Kachukwu, Group Managing Director Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Dr. Abraham Nwankwo, Director General, Debt Management Office (DMO), Mr. Farouk Ahmed, Executive Secretary, Petroleum Products Pricing and Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) and Alhaji Ahmed Kuru, managing director, AMCON.