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Federal Government may pay N5 trillion bad debts, AMCON warns


Managing Director, AMCON, Ahmed Kuru. Photo/EconomicConfidential

Except all hand are on deck, the Federal Government may invariably pay back the outstanding N5trillion plus bad debts if the sum is not fully recovered by the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON), before its sunset.

Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, AMCON, Mr. Ahmed Lawan Kuru, who made the clarification in Abuja, said the debts recovery task should be seen as a collective problem that concerns all Nigerians irrespective of their socio-political, ethnic, and cultural ideologies.

Kuru spoke through the Executive Director, Assets, Dr. Eberechukwu Uneze, when he received a group of cadets from the Accounting Department of the Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA), led by the Registrar, Brigadier-General Ibrahim Mohammed Jallo.

The cadets were at AMCON on an excursion as part of their mandatory requirement to visit select financial institutions where they are availed the opportunity of matching theoretical teachings in the academy with practical realities of accounting principles in the real business world.

Kuru, who described the attitude of the typical AMCON recalcitrant debtors as a reflection of the nonchalant attitude of the people, blamed such negative disposition for the rascality that was experienced in the banking sector, which led to the creation of AMCON in 2010.

He cautioned those who think the challenge of recovering the huge debts is AMCON’s sole responsibility, and called on all, including the security agencies, to support AMCON’s efforts, as failure to do so means the government would invariably pay back with taxpayers’ money.

Such funds he noted would have been used to provide or improve the much-needed infrastructure across the country.

Insisting that AMCON has done remarkably well against all odds since its establishment, he however said the Corporation is not resting on its oars to ensure the debtors paid up.

He said the zeal to recover the debts made AMCON change its recovery strategy from that of negotiation to enforcement. Aside recovering over N1trillion so far, he said: “Our intervention in the banking sector protected thousands of jobs. Along the line, we have also created thousands of direct and indirect jobs. The creation of the Asset Management Partners (AMPs) scheme for instance, employed close to 9,000 direct and indirect jobs as well.

“With the AMP scheme, AMCON is laying solid foundation for the stability of the financial sector because we are gradually and systemically grooming professionals that will take over the job of AMCON at sunset. Our thinking is that at the end of this assignment as mandated by the law, we would have trained highly experienced and professional agents with the requisite capacity and knowhow to continue to function as asset managers in the country. This is because AMCON was not established to stay forever because that will encourage bad behaviour in banks. It also has a moral hazard, which is not good for our economy and the country,” he concluded.

In response, General Jallo, while thanking the management of AMCON for the revealing and educative presentation, said there was a need for AMCON and the Defence Academy to collaborate in terms of staff training among other areas of partnership for a mutually beneficial relationship.

He said the cadets were part of the 68 Regular Course in Accounting Department of the NDA, who were on the verge of graduating. Aside from AMCON, he disclosed that they will visit other government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) in four states, in line with the fulfilment of the academic requirement that demands them to be exposed to business and transactional realities, to further equip them as well-rounded cadets before their eventual graduation.

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