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CBN’s report: AMCON N3.8tr Bonds mature 2023

The Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) N3.8 trillion six-year Notes will mature in 2023, a report by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has shown.

According to the CBN’s Annual Activity Report, the AMCON Bond was issued in December 2014 at six per cent interest rate and have remained outstanding as at last December.

The bond, which were taken up by the CBN, were issued during a restructuring.

AMCON, which is expected to wind down by 2021, is working hard to recover over N5 trillion debts owed it.

Its Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer Ahmed Kuru said the corporation was working with other sister agencies, such as the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC), the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) to produce a television documentary on the corporation’s recalcitrant obligors.

The AMCON MD, who was guest speaker at the Breakfast Meeting, organised by the Nigerian-American Chamber of Commerce (NACC), said the idea was to document for the future  the debtors.

He said, unlike what happens in other climes,  these obligors still manipulate their way to emerge as top government functionaries.

Kuru added: “Sadly, these are the calibre of people we respect in Nigeria but these people are not role models. How can you be a role model when you cannot honour a simple obligation? That is why I have been consistent in the call for the return of the failed bank act. The way we are handling the issue in the country suggests that we are encouraging a lot of financial rascality. People have to be held accountable for their actions, which, I believe, would serve as deterrent to others.

“Economies all over the world depend on the financial infrastructure for growth. If we allow or encourage the destruction of the basis of our financial structure, then the economy would not grow. These are men and women who go to banks borrow money with no intention to pay and in the process bring down banking institutions. It takes a lot for a bank to fail. AMCON just rescued Skye Bank with an investment of nearly N1trillion. In a decent society, those who are responsible are supposed to be held accountable.

“We are talking about recovering over N5trillion debt, which sits with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and we know that the Federal Government through the CBN cannot afford to write the debt off so we just have to recover. With such huge recovery, the country can do a lot in the areas of infrastructure development in energy, rail line, health, road construction, and lot more. To enable you understand the magnitude of what we are talking about, only 350 individuals account for 80 per cent of the debt amounting to N4.6trillion.’’

On why AMCON cannot deal with these obligors, Kuru said the Act establishing the corporation does not empower it to arrest and prosecute people like some other agencies of the government. “As AMCON, we have no power to arrest these ‘powerful’ people as we depend largely on judicial processes to recover and we all know the slow pace of judicial processes. Given our sunset date, which is around 2013/24; we are determined to go after these obligors within the ambit of the law in line with the AMCON Act.

‘’Already, we have changed our strategy to more of enforcement, because the negotiations have failed. We want to go a step further by working with the ICPC and the EFCC, which will enable us to investigate the credit processes. If we do not establish this deterrent, we are likely to go round the era of NPL circle again,” Kuru stated.

The AMCON boss urge NACC to lead the campaign for the strengthening of corporate governance structures in both the financial services industry and other sectors of the economy as lack of it destroys institutions and organisations. Again he said, “Your chamber must be in the forefront to champion good corporate governance structures; you must preach that people must learn how to meet their obligations; people must obey the rule of law and be transparent in their dealings with others. Above all, we must promote the culture of holding people accountable, especially the leadership class in both politics and business.

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