The Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) has said 350 obligors are holding on to debts worth N3.6 trillion out of its total N4.4 trillion exposure.
This is according to a paper presented by Joshua Ikioda, the group head of AMCON enforcement, during a two-day training for federal high court legal assistants and court registrars in Abuja.
Jude Nwauzor, AMCON’s spokesman, said the training was organised by the Fatihu Abba-led Legal Academy to enlighten legal assistants and registrars of the federal high court on AMCON’s mandate.
AMCON was established in July 2010 to help resolve non-performing loans of banks by buying bad loans and recovering such from debtors and their promoters.
According to Ikioda, the total N4.4 trillion held by AMCON is bigger than the N3.85 trillion capital expenditure budget of the federal government for 2021, the N3.12 trillion for total foreign debt service and personnel cost of N3.7trillion.
He further explained that the huge debt would be enough to capitalise two million micro-businesses in the country with a N2 million cash injection each or 200,000 small and medium enterprises (SMEs) with N20 million per SME.
In his keynote address, Ahmed Kuru (pictured), AMCON chief executive officer, said the judiciary plays an important role in the success of the corporation.
“We are just a government recovery agency saddled with the responsibility of purchasing non-performing loans from banks and ensuring it is paid back using the instrumentality of the law.
“Unfortunately, it did not turn out to be that easy, through the instrumentality of the courts as we encountered a lot of challenges.
“The obligors get wiser by the day, deliberately causing orchestrated legal delays knowing that AMCON has a sunset date. The act was amended in 2015 to address some of the encountered challenges, again obligors got wiser, hence necessitating another amendment in 2019 all with the single objective of recovering the loans bought from banks in order to settle our debt without recourse to taxpayers money.
“Due to the limited lifespan of AMCON, there is a need for a speedy and simplified litigation process.”
Kuru said the loans were so bad that the government had to purchase them to prevent a collapse of the economy.
“AMCON’s mandate is therefore to recover these debts for our common survival to be guaranteed. The rationale behind the AMCON regime is to quickly recover the bad debts within a legal framework that ensures speed without compromising fair hearing,” he explained.
“The directions and the rules have introduced a new culture of expediency in determining AMCON matters at the federal high court. Therefore, it is imperative for you to understand the AMCON spirit, which means speed and efficiency.”