The Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) has said it has recorded significant progress in debt recovery since it published its top 100 delinquent debtors earlier in the year.
Speaking in Lagos, AMCON Head of Corporate Communications, Jude Nwauzor said although the corporation is yet to publish new list of debtors, there has been positive developments in the areas of takeovers of assets, recoveries and resolutions. He said the corporation is in court with a good number of these obligors and could not reel out names.
On hindrances to debt recovery, he said: “There are a lot of factors. For example, we are in court with a good number of obligors and you know the wheel of justice in Nigeria grinds slowly, which presents some kind of temporary or extended cover for these debtors.
“If it is possible for the courts to give accelerated hearing to AMCON-related cases, recoveries would be a lot easier. Secondly, the harsh economic realities pose significant challenge. Nobody will shy away from the fact that the country has slipped into recession, which makes it even more difficult for both businesses and individuals.”
Continuing, he said: “If that is the situation now, then you can imagine how difficult it has become for AMCON to recover or even dispose assets. But in the face of all these challenges, AMCON is undaunted because my MD/CEO reminds every member of staff in the Corporation that AMCON’s job remains a national assignment because the success of the corporation has direct effect on the success of the Nigerian economy.”
AMCON MD’s first one year in office
Assessing AMCON Managing Director/CEO, Ahmed Kuru’s first year in office, he said:
“I believe he has achieved a lot because he sort of hit the ground running, as it were, when he assumed office on August 18, last year. He has been engaging obligors in finding permanent resolution to their debts and I can tell you that a good measure of progress has been recorded. Do not forget he is dealing with debts that were hard-core with the commercial banks in the first instance before they arrived AMCON.”
Speaking further, he said: “Aside that, he has seriously sharpened the business processes in the corporation in addition to sound corporate governance. His administration in AMCON adopted aggressive recovery strategies that have led to increased repayment from hitherto recalcitrant obligors. He has also introduced some value enhanced exit plans through partnerships with investors to revive failing companies in AMCON’s portfolio, which will attract the much sort after foreign investors to the country.”
“Part of his strategy was the introduction of Asset Management Partners (AMPs) to assist the corporation in recoveries. The AMPs are consortiums with specialist skills required to ensure recovery and debt resolution; banking, legal, valuation and accounting. The move will make it possible for AMCON to resolve over 6,000 accounts with loan balances of N100 million and below,” he said.
Nwauzor explained that within the period, AMCON has successfully divested from other intervened banks outside of the bridged banks; intervened in Peugeot Automobile Nigeria (PAN), a leading automobile manufacturer in the country, which saved a lot of jobs and guaranteed business continuity; repaid coupon on Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Note totaling N241.7 billion ($1.2 billion); repaid interest on CBN Debenture totaling N15 billion ($76.3 million) as well as working to stabilise the aviation sector through key strategic interventions in some of them that are experiencing distress due to the current economic situation in the country”.
“Without sounding immodest, I am very sure President Mohammadu Buhari must be impressed with his choice of Ahmed Kuru to steer the ship of AMCON at this challenging time in the history of the country. I say that because following a request from my boss, Mr. President, a few months back, inaugurated what he called Presidential Inter-Agency Committee on recovery of loans owed Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria. The committee is chaired by no other person than the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami,” he added.
Forces against AMCON’s operations
Speaking on why some people are against AMCON and its activities despite its achievements in the industry, the AMCON spokesman said: “I would like you to take a critical look at the crop of individuals that are against AMCON; they fall within the category of die-hard debtors, who contributed in destabilising the Nigerian economy. Well-meaning Nigerians are happy with AMCON activities except a few that are heavily indebted, but trying hard to circumvent the law.”
Furthermore, he said: “Again, mention one disgruntled person that is not on the list of AMCON debtors. Those assets AMCON took over, which sparked off the spate of so-called attacks on AMCON, were done after we have explored all avenues and channels of peaceful resolutions; having fulfilled due judicial procedures. But unfortunately for them, sponsoring media articles against AMCON or hiring the ‘so-called industry experts’ will not erase the huge debt they owe the corporation and I am sure you know that such campaigns of calumny only strengthens our MD because he is not deterred and will never be deterred by such distractions.”
On whether AMCON will takeover more businesses
Speaking on the likelihood of the corporation taking over more businesses in the last quarter of this financial year, Nwauzor said: “It all depends on a number of legal and business dynamics. What I know is that AMCON will continue to take careful steps in discharging its assignments within the ambit of the law. In a subtle manner, the corporation will aggressively and decisively coerce all delinquent debtors to the path of resolution, especially now that we are in an era where sacred cows are no longer recognised or celebrated in Nigeria. Remember that Kuru proved himself as a change agent and a turn-around expert before arriving AMCON. He will replicate the same feat in AMCON.
“AMCON, more than ever before, has sharpened its resolution mechanism. However, obligors are given the opportunity to come forward; otherwise the full extent of the AMCON Act would be applied without favours.”
EFCC Finally Arrests Okorocha After Hours of Siege, Gives Reason
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has finally arrested the All Progressives Congress’ presidential candidate and former governor of Imo State, Rochas Okorocha after laying siege on his residence for hours.
Security operatives attached to the EFCC had surrounded the residence of the former governor earlier on Tuesday and before they finally arrested him late in the evening.
Investors King can confirm that lots of gunshots and tear gas canisters were fired to disperse angry supporters of the lawmaker who tried to resist the arrest before he was finally arrested.
According to an official of the anti-graft agency, Okorocha will be taken to the headquarters of the commission where he will be until May 30 when he will be arraigned in court.
In an official statement obtained by Investors King, signed by the EFCC spokesperson, Wilson Uwujaren, “the move to arrest Okorocha was followed by the refusal of the former governor to honour invitations after jumping the administrative bail earlier granted him by the Commission.
“EFCC had on January 24, 2022, filed a 17-count criminal charge bordering on diversion of public funds and properties to the tune of N2.9bn against Okorocha.
“The case was assigned to Honourable Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court, Abuja but attempts to arraign Senator Okorocha was twice stalled owing to the absence of the ex-governor who evaded service of processes”.
EFCC added that at the last adjourned date, March 28th 2022, Justice Ekwo, before adjourning until May 30th, 2022, had warned that it was “the last adjournment I shall grant in this matter”.
“In the circumstances, the Commission is left with no option but to effect the arrest of Senator Okorocha and bring him to trial”, the statement had read.
Russia Halts Supply of Gas to Finland, Disagrees on Payment Mode
Russia’s majority state-owned multinational energy corporation, PJSC Gazprom, on Saturday, halted gas exports to one of its neighbouring countries, Finland, in the latest escalation of an energy payments dispute with Western nations.
A statement released by Finland’s gas system operator, Gasgrid said: “Gas imports through Imatra entry point have been stopped.
“Starting from today, during the upcoming summer season, Gasum will supply natural gas to its customers from other sources through the Balticconnector pipeline”.
Investors King gathered that majority of the European supply contracts are denominated in Euros or Dollars and Moscow already cut off gas to Bulgaria and Poland last month after they refused to comply with the new payment terms.
Imatra is the entry point for Russian gas into Finland and even though majority of the gas used in Finland comes from Russia, gas only accounts for about five per cent of its annual energy consumption.
Gazprom Export has requested that European countries pay for Russian gas supplies in Russian currency (roubles) because of sanctions imposed over Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, but Finland refuses to do so.
Gazprom Export, on Friday, said: “flows would be cut because Gasum had not complied with the new Russian rules requiring settlement in roubles.”
Earlier on Friday, the Finnish state-owned gas wholesaler, Gasum had said the Russian Gazprom warned that flows would be halted from 04:00 GMT on Saturday morning.
The decision is coming at a time when Finland and Sweden announced that they were going to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) military alliance, a decision inspired by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Last week, the Finish Prime minister, Sanna Marin had said: “When we look at Russia, we see a very different kind of Russia today than we saw just a few months ago.
“Everything changed when Russia attacked Ukraine. And I personally think that we cannot trust anymore that there will be a peaceful future next to Russia.”
Marin noted that joining NATO is “an act of peace [so] that there will never again be war in Finland in the future”.
According to Swedish leader Andersson, “to ensure the safety of Swedish people, the best way forward is to join NATO together with Finland”.
The announcements were met with support from leaders in almost all NATO nations.
US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken told reporters that the United States would strongly support the NATO application by either Sweden or Finland should they choose to formally apply to the alliance.
Investors King recalls that Russia had in April, announced the suspension of gas supply to Poland and Bulgaria on the same payment disputes.
FG Resumes Conditional Cash Transfer Programme Across Six Local Govt. In Kebbi
The Federal Government has resumed the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) programme in Kebbi State, commencing with a payment of N9.24bn to 76,107 CCT beneficiaries.
The National Coordinator of the programme, Hajiya Halima Shehu, made the announcement during a state visit to Governor Atiku Bagudu in Birnin Kebbi.
“As at now, payment to CCT beneficiaries is ongoing in the state. A total number of 76,107 beneficiaries across six local government areas of Bagudu, Danko, Wasagu, Dandi, Jega, and Shanga, will be receiving the payment. The beneficiaries will be receiving 26 months of payment circles, starting from January to February 2020.
“The payment will be in two batches of those 60,000 beneficiaries for four payment cycles, using the virtual account. The second batch has 70,107 beneficiaries for nine payment cycles through the debit cards. The total amount for the two batches in the state, according to Shehu, was over N9.24 billion.
“The Federal Government of Nigeria, in partnership with the World Bank in 2016, designed and developed a safety net programme for Nigeria under the platform of National Social Safety Net Programme (NASSP).
“One of the components of NASSP is the national conditional cash transfer office responsible for implementing the household uplifting- conditional cash transfer to the poor and the vulnerable households across the country,” she said.
Shehu commended the governor for providing her an audience and the chance to update him on the commencement of payments and the state’s successful implementation of the program.
Responding, Gov. Bagudu, represented by his Deputy, Alhaji Samaila Yombe-Dabai, thanked the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, headed by Hajiya Sadiya Umar-Farouq, for actualising the programme in the state.
“I assure you that the state government will do all it takes to support the success of the programme in the state.
“We are looking forward to getting more local governments to be involved in the cash transfer programme,” Bagudu said.
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