The Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON), the public institution set up to buy bad debts from banks, said losses for the full year ended December 2017 narrowed to N16.4 billion from N164.9 billion in 2016 on improving macroeconomic conditions in the country as the economy rebounded from its worst contraction in more than two decades.
Ahmed Kuru, managing director and chief executive of the bad bank disclosed this alongside his management team at the weekend while briefing the business media in Lagos. He said though the company was not set up ab. Initio to make profits, it, however, benefited from the recovery in the economy.
He said the company’s strategic focus going forward is to be bullish on recovery with a special target on 350 obligors who account for 80 percent of its over N5 trillion receivables. This, according to him, is to scale up its recovery rate from the current 37 percent to 60 percent before its sunset timeline of 2024.
Going by the new strategic imperative, the AMCON boss hinted that all obligors of AMCON especially the politically exposed individuals and business heavyweight who hitherto thought they were untouchable will not be spared in the enforcement process that are being fine-tuned by the recovery agency, adding that AMCON in doing so would not operate outside the laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as well as the AMCON Act 2010, as amended.
“I want Nigerians to understand that our assignment at AMCON is not just tough but a daunting challenge so we actually deserve the support of the media and that of the general public. I think people need to pity us because we are at that stage in the life of the Corporation where we are dealing with the hardcore because the low hanging fruits have been dealt with earlier in the life of AMCON.
“I want you to understand that we are sitting on a substantial amount of assets, which we must one way or the other resolve on or before our sunset, which is around 2023/24,” Kuru said.
AMCON had acquired 12,537 non-performing loans (NPLs) worth 1.7 trillion naira from 22 financial institutions, following the 2009 banking crisis.
On the 2017 Audited Account, Aminu Ismail, AMCON’s executive director operations said gross earnings increased by 23 percent to N341.8 billion, adding that a 21 percent increase in interest income to N42.6 billion as well as the N41 billion sale of Keystone Bank helped boost performance even as operating expenses rose by 16 percent.
“If the economy continues with a positive momentum” AMCON expects to return to profit this year, Ismail said.
The economy of Nigeria expanded 1.95 percent in the three months through March from a year earlier, after contracting in 2016. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) forecasts it to grow 2.1 percent this year.