As part of its aggressive debt recovery drive, the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) has engaged the services of asset tracing experts to help recover assets from its debtors that have investments outside the country.
Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, AMCON, Mr. Ahmed Kuru, who said this in response to enquiry from THISDAY on how the corporation had been handling cases of debtors that have assets outside the country, said the corporation engaged the services of lawyers outside the country to help it carry out the task of assets tracing.
“You know gradually, the world has become a global village. What you need to do is that once you have a local judgement, you engage a lawyer that will go and file the case over there. That is why in some of our cases, we do assets tracing.
“And because over there, they are familiar with what happens here, once you have a local judgement, we engage a lawyer outside to file it in the court over there and they give us access to what we need. You see, these people outside, they know what is happening here because they have people that report to them regularly. So, we follow the law, we appoint lawyers and get those assets,” Kuru explained.
The AMCON boss said President Muhammadu Buhari is passionate about the recovery effort in AMCON. This, according to him is because the president doesn’t want the burden of AMCON’s debt to be passed on to ultimately taxpayers in the country.
He added: “The president is very keen that it doesn’t become the taxpayers’ responsibility. That is why the government is giving us all the support they could to ensure that we achieve our objective.
“We thank the judiciary for their support because whatever we do, we have to go to the judiciary because we are a law abiding organisation. Quick dispensation of justice is also very key when it comes to the future value of money. We appreciate the effort we get from the EFCC, Nigeria Police Force, the NNPC, the Central Bank of Nigeria and the Ministry of Finance.”
Speaking on the economy, he faulted the rebasing of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) that was done by the previous administration, saying if the economy was growing at about seven per cent, “for anything to shake the economy, it must be volcanic eruption.”
Therefore, Kuru argued that “all those were figures they were just throwing all over the place.”
According to the former Enterprise Bank boss, an economy can’t just collapse because there was a change in government.
As a nation, we must address the governance issue, he said, adding that if we don’t build institutions, if we don’t support governance structure and if we don’t remove impunity in Nigeria, “you can bring anybody from Wall Street, World Bank, London Stock Exchange, etc, and they would fail because there is no institution to support what they want to do.”
“And I think we must all support government to help in building institutions because no matter the economic permutation, if you don’t have institution to execute and support those policies, you will still have to go back and be talking about same thing. So, we have to be patriotic and see how we can support government. So, we need to re-orientate ourselves and see how we can help each other to grow the economy,” he said.
According to him, Nigerians have not considered what would have happened after the 2008/2009 financial crisis if the intervention of AMCON did not take place.
He said by the intervention by AMCON, the government was able to protect financial assets of almost N9.1trillion, saying that if they had allowed the crisis to affect the financial institutions, depositors would have lost money in excess of N4trillion.
“This is aside the unemployment that would have happened, the social unrest and a lot of other things. So, whatever you may lose on the financial side, obviously there are lots of gains on the social side. Primarily, AMCON was set up to provide liquidity to the financial sector, to provide financial stability and also support some of the businesses that are in the key sectors of oil and gas, power and agriculture.
“From our own perspective, I think that objective has been achieved because we were able to come out of that financial crisis due to the intervention. For us, we consider that as the first phase of the intervention and the first phase of the life of AMCON,” he said.
Economists Evaluate Nigeria-China Currency Swap
Some Financial Economists have expressed great concerns about the minor influence that the Nigeria-China currency swap had on the country’s economy, three years after.
The experts told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos on Friday that the volume of currency import so far traded had not been significant, though a few swaps took place.
The pact which marked three years of implementation in April was signed on April 27, 2018, to ease demand pressure on the country’s supply of foreign exchange.
The Chief Executive Officer of Arvo Finance, Mr. Ayotunde Bally, said that the pact had not been fully utilised due to a decrease in the drawdown of the money input of the Chinese Yuan to the Central Bank of Nigeria.
“This pact which was aimed at creating a harmonious relationship between the two countries has not been utilised as it ought to be. Statistics have it that Nigeria-China bilateral trade which was around 2 billion dollars in 2002 is within the space of about 14 billion dollars in contemporary years. And yet, we cannot boast of about three billion dollars Yuan being utilised in such market transaction,’’ he said.
According to Bally, that has clearly displayed the negligence of the pact by most business importers
He said the poor state of the pact was due to ignorance and the benefits of the pact to those who utilise it.
“Also, the deliberate avoidance of the pact by those who believe transactions are easier with dollars or some other methods like Bureau De Change among others. Even those who know about the pact but avoid it, indicating that it is not lucid and that the regulations and procedures are rigid to them,” he told NAN.
He advocated massive sensitisation on the usefulness of the pact to both the business individuals and the country at large.
Mr. Johnson Chukwu, Founder of Cowry Asset Management Limited, also said that the pact recorded minimal benefit to the economy.
“If you look at our demand for foreign exchange particularly for imports, you will observe that we still have pressures coming from import demand. China is our biggest trading partner and our largest import market.
“We bought more products from China than any other country in the world. So, if the currency swap has been very significant, then the pressures we are witnessing on the balance of trade would have been abated.
“So, I do not think the volume of currency import has been significant. Certainly, there must have been a few swaps that have taken place since then but it is clearly not significant because if it was, it would have reflected in our balance of trade,” Chukwu said.
According to him, China accounts for more than 25 percent of our imports; so we should not have a currency swap that delays immediate payments of our foreign reserves.
Also, Prof. Ndubisi Nwokoma, Director, Centre for Economic Policy Analysis and Research (CEPAR), University of Lagos, said that the swap deal had a positive impact on the naira exchange rate with major currencies.
“The Nigeria-China currency swap deal, according to reports, has some positive impact on the stability of the naira exchange rate with major currencies. But, its effect is limited by the volume of trade between Nigeria and China.
“With the decline in global productivity occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic and other factors, the effect appears not to have achieved the originally intended objectives.
“Nigeria has been bedeviled by other economic challenges. The current sorry state of the country’s exchange rate is quite instructive in this regard,” Nwokoma said.
Unilever Nigeria to Create New Company For Tea Business
Unilever Nigeria Plc announced on Friday that its Board of Directors had approved the steps required to implement the separation of its tea business in Nigeria.
The approval on April 30, 2021, followed the announcement made on Feb. 25 about Unilever Nigeria’s planned separation of its tea business as part of the global separation, according to a statement obtained from the Nigerian Exchange Limited.
The company noted that on 23 July 2020, following the completion of a strategic review, Unilever Plc announced its intention to separate its global tea business, including the retail and food solutions businesses, plantations, T2 and Pukka.
It said, “Subject to approval by the company’s shareholders and any regulatory approvals, the Nigeria Tea Business will be transferred to a newly incorporated tea company in Nigeria (New TeaCo), held under a newly incorporated tea holding company to create a dedicated tea group within the Unilever Group (TeaCo Group).
“The assets being transferred by Unilever Nigeria Plc to New TeaCo include production assets and other tangible assets used exclusively in relation to the tea business; distribution rights to tea products in Nigeria and export markets; and locally owned unregistered intellectual property rights.”
According to the statement, Unilever Nigeria will retain ownership of the site at Agbara.
“Unilever and Unilever Nigeria Plc will also provide certain intercompany services to the New TeaCo and the TeaCo Group for a transitional period,” it said
Nigerian Breweries Picks Hans Essaadi to Replace Borrut Bel as MD/CEO
Nigerian Breweries, the largest brewing company in Nigeria, has appointed Mr. Hans Essaadi as the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) effective 31st, July 2021.
Mr. Essaadi will replace Mr. Jordi Borrut Bel, the current Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Nigerian Breweries who will be completing his tenure on the 30th of July, 2021.
Mr. Borrut Bel is expected to take up another assignment within the Heineken Group, hence why the Board accepted his letter of resignation.
Mr. Hans Essaadi Profile
Mr. Essaadi, is currently the Managing Director of Al Haram Beverages, the HEINEKEN Operating Company (“OpCo”) in Egypt and joined the HEINEKEN Group as a Sales Representative in 1991.
He subsequently took up increasingly senior roles within the Group in Sales, Export and Marketing. He commenced his international career with HEINEKEN Puerto Rico as the Country Manager, and thereafter became the General Manager, Brau Union International, the HEINEKEN OpCo in Austria.
Before his current role in Egypt, he was General Manager, Siroco (the HEINEKEN Joint Venture with the Emirates in Dubai) and Managing Director, HEINEKEN Malaysia Berhad, a listed company in Malaysia.
The Board is pleased to have a person of Mr. Essaadi’s experience and knowledge to take up the position of Managing Director/CEO of the Company and to continue the turnaround work started by Mr. Borrut Bel.
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