The Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON), Mr. Ahmed Lawan Kuru has reiterated that the over N5trillion bad debts, which Nigerians expect the corporation to fully recover before its sunset should be seen as a collective problem that concerns all Nigerians irrespective of their socio-political, ethnic and cultural ideologies.
Kuru, who was represented by the Executive Director, Assets, Dr. Eberechukwu Uneze, made the declaration when he received a group of cadets from the Accounting Department of the Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA); officers and men as well as lecturers from the academy led by Brigadier-General Ibrahim Mohammed Jallo, the Academy Registrar.
According to a statement, the cadets were at AMCON on an excursion, as part of their mandatory requirement to visit select financial institutions where they were availed the opportunity of matching theoretical teachings in the academy with practical realities of accounting principles in the real business world.
The AMCON boss, who described the attitude of typical recalcitrant AMCON debtors as a reflection of the nonchalant attitude of the populace said such negative disposition was responsible for the rascality that was experienced in the banking sector, which led to the creation of AMCON in 2010. He cautioned those who hitherto thought the challenge of recovering the huge debt was AMCON's sole headache to think again, because the monies in question belong Nigerian taxpayers.
He, therefore called on organisations and establishments including the security agencies, which includes the army, to support AMCON in its drive because failure to recover the huge debt will mean that the government would somehow, someday pay back with taxpayers' money, which would have been used to provide or improve the much needed infrastructure across the country.
Insisting that AMCON had remarkably done well against all odds since its establishment, he stated however that the corporation was not resting on its oars to ensure that these debtors pay what they owed. He disclosed that it was the zeal to make debtors pay that pushed AMCON to change its recovery strategy from negotiation to enforcement. Aside recovering over N1trillion, he said, "Our intervention in the banking sector protected thousands of jobs. Along the line we have also created thousands of direct and indirect jobs. The creation of the Asset Management Partners (AMPs) scheme for instance employed close to 9,000 direct and indirect jobs as well.
"With the AMP scheme, AMCON is laying solid foundation for the stability of the financial sector because we are gradually and systemically grooming professionals that will take over the job of AMCON at sunset.
"Our thinking is that at the end of this assignment as mandated by the law, we would have trained highly experienced and professional agents with the requisite capacity and knowhow to continue to function as asset managers in the country. "This is because AMCON was not established to stay forever because that will encourage bad behaviour in banks. It also has a moral hazard, which is not good for our economy and the country," he added.
In response, Brigadier-General Jallo, while thanking the management of AMCON for the various presentation, said there was need for the corporation and the defence academy to collaborate in terms of staff trainings among other areas of partnership for a mutually beneficial relationship.
He said the cadets whom he led to AMCON were part of the 68 Regular Course in Accounting Department of the NDA who were on the verge of graduating from the academy.
Secure Nigerian Cyberspace, Osinbajo Urges Stakeholders
Vice President Professor Yemi Osinbajo has charged stakeholders in the nation's cyber space to collectively share cyber security best practices and ensure speedy implementation of requisite policies, to curtail cybercrime in the country.
Osinbajo, who was represented by the Minister of Communications, Dr. Adebayo Shittu, gave the charge in Abuja, while declaring open Cyber Secure Nigeria 2019 conference with the theme 'Implementing Cyber Security and Data privacy practices in Nigeria.'
According to him, no body, organisation or entity was immune to cyber-crime victimisation as a result of sophistication and severity of cybercrime particularly in 2018, hence the need for all to jointly end the menace to ensure a secure Nigeria, otherwise every internet user would be a victim.
He posited that cyber security has become so essential, as individual and national development increasingly rely on Information Communication Technology (ICT), which calls for stringent regulations to be enacted and implemented to ensure criminal elements don't succeed in taking advantage on hapless internet users.
"The collection and processing of personal data raises significant privacy and data protection concerns for every citizen; the legal remedy to this problem is data protection to ensure privacy," Osinbajo said.
He pointed out that the conference was apt and a welcomed development in line with the key policy thrust of the federal government through the Ministry of Communications in view of the rampant activities of the cyber criminals and internet scammers popularly known as "yahoo yahoo".
Osinbajo urged the participants to galvanized ideas in combating cyber threat curtail cyber-crime and ensure data privacy practices in Nigeria, as well as to produce useful outcome for submission to the federal government.
He promised that the federal government would articulate various submissions emanating from the conference and put them to use.
On his part, the President, cyber security experts' association of Nigeria, Remi Afon, called on the federal government to establish a national cyber security center that would be saddled with the responsibility of coordinating and implementing cyber regulations.
He expressed worry that cyber security threats landscape had evolved rapidly and have increased in number and sophistication, which needed to be quickly checked to attain a regime of secured cyber space in Nigeria through concerted efforts from all critical stakeholders.
Cole Urges IFCs to Support Businesses in Developing Countries
Co-Founder of Sahara Energy Group, Mr. Tonye Cole, has called on the International Finance Centres (IFCs) to provide the necessary funding and support investments in developing countries.
This, he said, would enable private businesses in those countries flourish and in turn provide support for the realisation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) 2030 target of ending poverty, hunger, malnourishment and zero access to basic healthcare.
Cole, made the call in Lagos, during his keynote address at a breakfast business forum organised by Ocorian, an independent provider of corporate and fiduciary services, where participants brainstormed on alternative investment, corporate governance and adequate risk management to growing African companies and countries.
He stated that in developing countries, lack of capital hinders economic growth and stifles entrepreneurship.
He said: "Multinational finance is therefore vital. However, the reality is that multinational investors are reluctant to invest in developing countries because of the high risk of doing so especially, when you have political and micro economic instability.
"IFCs therefore need to provide the necessary infrastructure, a deep liquid and sophisticated capital market, tax and regulatory regimes to support foreign investment. IFC therefore plays significant role in mitigating risks associated in developing countries to provide this funding.
"They therefore act as mediators between the developing countries and the international finance by providing a neutral location for funds to be amalgamated from multiple investors and then invest in developing countries."
Earlier in his welcome speech, the Regional Chief Executive Officer, Africa Middle East and Asia (AMEA), Ocorian, Mr. Richard Arlove, emphasised the developmental impact of alternative investment on corporates, financial institutions and the development of the African continent.
Arlove said: "For any nation to make remarkable progress, there must be an alignment of the business community and government.
"There should also be an alignment of human capital, financial capital, and government capital. There is a need for all of the capital to be aligned properly to allow businesses grow in Africa."
However, during a panel session on "Adding Value to International Business in and out of Nigeria: The Role Played by an International Financial Centre," the panelists jointly stressed the need for companies in Africa to build sustainable businesses by seeking capital from the most efficient sources for growth. They also identified constraints faced by businesses when trying to raise capital for expansion; and proffered solutions to such problems.