N5tn debt: BPP, others to screen contractors - PUNCH
BY Nike Popoola
The Bureau of Public Procurement will ensure that contractors are scrutinised before they can do business with it in its drive to help the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria to recover debts it is pursuing.
The Director-General, Bureau of Public Procurement, Mr Mamman Ahmadu, disclosed this in Abuja during the quarterly briefing of the Ministry of Finance, attended by agencies under the supervision of the ministry.
The BPP boss said the bureau had intensified its due diligence process and would ensure that those seeking contract from the government were scrutinised to establish the fact that they were not on the list of AMCON debtors before contracts were awarded.
Minister of Finance, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, urged the management of AMCON, led by the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Mr Ahmed Kuru, to do everything within the powers of its newly amended Act to recover the huge debt owed the corporation by a few individuals and organisations in the country.
She said, “AMCON must ensure that the debts are recovered before the sunset, which is around the corner. If AMCON at sunset fails to recover the huge bad loans, the debt will become government problem, which the government is not willing to carry.
“Therefore, everything must be done to ensure that AMCON recovers the debt from the obligors because it will have a huge positive impact on the economy,” the minister said.
The Chairman, Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission, Prof Bolaji Owasanoye, who also chaired the Inter-Agency Presidential Committee set up by the Vice President to recover AMCON debt had joined his voice in rallying agencies of government to ensure that they tightened the noose on AMCON obligors, which he said would pressure them to repay the debt before sunset.
According to him, the Inter-Agency Presidential Committee, which included the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission; the Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit; Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation; Central Bank of Nigeria; Ministry of Justice; ICPC and AMCON had concluded plans to expand the dragnet of the debtors by looking at those who facilitated the loans on the side of the banks and those who benefited from the proceeds.