A Senior Advocate of Nigeria has called on the Federal Government to expand the powers of the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria in its debt recovery process.
Mr Oluwakemi Balogun of Oluwakemi LP while speaking at a training of solicitors, receivers and receiver/managers in Lagos said debt recovery in Nigeria would continue to burden AMCON as well as the financial sector as long as the system allowed some ‘Nigerians to brazenly walk into banks to borrow money with no intention to repay the loan obligation’.
The lawyer, according to a statement issued by AMCON on Sunday, said a drastic solution must be taken by the government to save the country from debtors who, according to him, have perfected the art of going to different banks to borrow money and have serially defaulted in the repayment agreement because the country had no policy that guarding against it.
Balogun stated, “We need to have a national law that will assist lenders. There must be a national law on debt recovery. This law should not just be for only AMCON as a government agency but for the nation as a whole.
“That is one of the ways we can curb the bad behaviour. In some other economies, you cannot borrow money and refuse to pay back and go scot-free. Therefore, Nigeria should not allow recalcitrant debtors to go unpunished.
AMCON Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director, Ahmed Kuru, represented by Mr Benedict Daminabo, group head, asset management, said the agency would continue to highlight the dangers of not recovering the debt because of its grave implication.
He said, “We have repeatedly made the point at every opportunity that all stakeholders must view the AMCON mandate as one of serious national importance.
“If at sunset AMCON is unable to recover the huge debt of over N5tn, it becomes the debt of the Federal Government of Nigeria for which taxpayers’ monies will be used to settle.
“The implication is that the public will be made to pay for the recklessness of only a few individuals who continue to take advantage of the loopholes in our laws to escape their moral and legal obligations to repay their debts.”
He added that AMCON had reached a point where all stakeholders must work together to fight the common enemy of huge debt burden.