Senate empowers AMCON to sell debtors’ properties

Nigerian senate passed a bill that strengthened the power of state-owned Asset Management Corp. of Nigeria to recover bad loans it acquired from commercial lenders during a banking crises more than a decade ago.

The lawmakers approved the so-called Amcon Amendment Bill, which empowers the company to take possession, manage or sell all properties traced to debtors, whether or not such assets or property have been used as collateral for obtaining the loan, according to an emailed statement on Wednesday.

The bill also empowers the Abuja-based company to take defaulters to a special tribunal to recover debts. Amcon is struggling to recover about N5.5 trillion ($13.4 billion) debts from borrowers since the 2008-09 banking crisis.

Early this year, the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) said that 350 debtors in Nigeria owe it N3.6 trillion.

The corporation’s Group Head of Enforcement, Joshua Ikioda had said, if recovered, the N3.6 trillion would be enough to complete the revival of the moribund Ajaokuta Steel Company in Kogi State, and capitalise over two million micro-businesses with N2 million each or 200,000 Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) with N20 million per SME.

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