House of reps probes AMCON’s N5.4trn debt

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The house of representatives says it will probe the N5.4 trillion debt portfolio of the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON).

At Wednesday’s plenary session, the lower legislative chamber expressed concerns about debtors said to be reluctant to settle their debt.

Cornelius Nnaji, a lawmaker from Enugu state had raised an alarm that AMCON has for long been in excess of its N800 billion debt ceiling.

He said since its establishment, the corporation is empowered to, among other things, acquire eligible bank assets from eligible financial institutions and individuals.

The lawmaker, however, regretted that the AMCON is currently facing difficulties in recovering the debt owed by debtors and institutions.

He said about 20 entities are said to be responsible for about 67% of the corporation’s N5.4 trillion debt portfolio — “an amount which is over 50% of the 2018 budget of Nigeria”.

The lawmaker called on the lower legislative chamber to investigate the debt and the alleged unwillingness of some of those owing the corporation.

He said this would help to “evaluate the status of the debts and the practical, legal and other strategies for their recovery, including recommending a time frame, and other options such as amendment of the AMCON Act”.

The green chamber approved the motion and directed its committee on banking and currency to investigate the matter and report back within three weeks.

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo recently set up a task force with a mandate to devise a strategy to recover AMCON’s debts which some have been reported to be held by ministers and lawmakers.

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