From Uche Usim, Abuja
As hopes of recovering outstanding N4.4 trillion debt dim, the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) has cried out to all relevant government agencies and stakeholders to join its debt recovery drive as failure to achieve this golden objective will further wreck the economy.
AMCON raised the alarm in a statement released on Sunday, explaining that chronic debtors have designed smart ways of evading payment and arrest.
It expressed worries that the outstanding debt of N4.4 trillion was higher than the entire budget of the 36 States and larger than the 2021 capital expenditure budget of the Federal Government, which stands at N3.85trillion.
The Corporation also noted that the debt is also bigger than the N3.12trillion for total foreign debt service for 2021 and personnel cost of N3.7trillion.
Of this figure, AMCON disclosed that its 350 obligors alone account for a whopping N3.6trillion, which is 82 per cent of the outstanding exposure of N4.4trillion, which, if recovered, would be enough to complete the resuscitation of the moribund Ajaokuta Steel Company and construction of many more of such projects. The development of the iron and steel sector as well as the electricity sector are essential ingredients to industrialisation in any country and the debt owed AMCON can do a lot in improving electricity generation and distribution as well as revival of the challenged iron and steel sector.
Similarly, AMCON added that the huge debt, if recovered ,would be enough to capitalize over two million MSMEs with N2 million cash injection each or 200,000 Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) with N20 million per SME, which would create over 10 million jobs in the country.
By so doing, the agency said thousands of unemployed youths who are involved with all sorts of violent crimes would be engaged positively. With all these facts and its negative effect to the economy, the Corporation explained that it would not be fair to allow this crop of obligors that have collectively destroyed the commonwealth of Nigerians escape justice, which is why it is calling on all sister agencies to support the recovery drive. AMCON pledged its determination to recover these debts because the money belongs to Nigerian taxpayers.
At a recent training workshop for judges, Mr Ahmed Kuru, AMCON’s Chief Executive Officer, in his keynote address reiterated the important role the Judiciary in national development, saying it remains vital to the success of AMCON.