The Federal Government has set up an inter-agency committee for the purpose of recovering the N5 trillion debt owed the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON).

The committee was inaugurated by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo according to a statement released by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Laolu Akande.

The Details: Members of the committee include heads and representatives of agencies like Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit; the ICPC; Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN); Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation; the Federal Ministry of Justice; AMCON, and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

The Vice President gave the committeetargets and expected to receive reports of their progress.

“One of the terms of reference is for the committee to prepare a report, giving us a sense of what the timelines will be. About 67% of the outstanding N5 trillion debt is said to be owed by just 20 individuals/entities,” the statement said.

The backstory: Over 350 Nigerians are said to be responsible for more than 80% of the N5 trillion debt profile of AMCON. The huge debts have lingered for several years.

  • AMCON was set-up by the Federal Government in 2010 to acquire non-performing loans from banks in order to ensure the viability of the country’s financial sector.
  • FG, through the operation of the Central Bank of Nigeria, conceptualized the idea for the establishment of a body that would prevent financial crisis in the country.
  • In October 2018, the corporation published about 20 names of corporations and agencies who hugely contributed to the debt.
  • AMCON has also threatened to publish the full list and released a documentary on prominent Nigerians who are still owing the corporation. IH
  • Recently, President Muhammadu Buhari assented to a new Act that gives AMCON more power to enforce recovery of debt from prominent Nigerians and corporate organisations.

The bottom line: In the meantime, AMCON has reiterated that if the debt is not recovered, Nigeria’s financial sector may be heading towards another era of high non-performing loans which will affect the economy.