The Senate on Tuesday passed for second reading a bill seeking to empower the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria in assets recovery.
The proposed law also intends to strengthen the agency against economic sabotage by debtors with unpaid loans.
The AMCON Amendment Bill 2021, was sponsored by Senator Opeyemi Bamidele.
Bamidele said, “The main aim of this amendment is to update a few clauses in the Act that have been hampering the operations of the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria.
“Under the current Act, the continued smooth operation of AMCON is threatened by the tenor put on a key funding provision for AMCON.
“Therefore, the proposed amendment is designed to allow for more flexibility in the tenor of this key funding provision.”
Bamidele said the amendment would strengthen AMCON in stabilising Nigeria’s banking sector and empower the agency in carrying out its functions of assets and debt recovery.
He said, “AMCON is a very important and strategic national institution that must be strengthened to effectively contribute to the stabilisation of the banking sector in Nigeria.
“It proved its mettle in the banking crises of 2009. Our economy still grapples with huge challenges. The banking sector is not immune from the difficulties we face.
“We must therefore review and amend the AMCON Act (2014) in order to reinvent and reposition AMCON to optimally perform its functions.
“In particular, this amendment will strengthen the hands of AMCON in assets recovery. AMCON must be reenergised to tackle the problem of toxic loans.
“Highly placed debtors have been employing different strategies and tactics to stall the repayment of loans. Cases drag on in courts for many years.
“AMCON has remained at the receiving end of this well laid and orchestrated acts of economic sabotage.
“As patriots, we have an obligation to empower AMCON and make its assets recovery efforts less cumbersome. We must remove all obstacles to its smooth operations. We must safeguard our banking sector and the economy in these trying times.”
Senator Uba Sani, representing Kaduna Central, said that AMCON largely depended on the resources from the resolution fund.
He said, “Failure to extend this amendment bill will certainly affect the operation of AMCON and it may force the government to bear the entire cost of debt management of AMCON.”
Senator Adamu Aliero, representing Kebbi Central, said the amendment would give teeth to AMCON to recover all debts that were given to private individuals and companies.
The Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, referred the bill after it scaled second reading to the Committee on Banking, Insurance and other Financial Institutions for further legislative work.