Kenneth Udeh, Abuja
The Chairman, Senate Committee on Banking, Insurance and Other Financial Institutions, Senator Uba Sani, has expressed the willingness of the 9th Senate to support the Nigerian Security Printing and Minting company to produce Nigerian passports locally.
The APC Senator representing Kaduna Central Senatorial District also made assurances of the Senate’s resolve to ensure that monies being owed to the Asset Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON) by some Nigerians were recovered.
Uba stated this on Monday in a brief interview with Daily Sun‘s Kenneth Udeh in Abuja, shortly after the Managing Director of Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON), Ahmed Kuru and Abbas Umar Masanawa, the Managing Director of the Nigerian Security Printing and Minting company (NSPMC), appeared before the Senate Committee on Banking, Insurance and other Financial Institutions led by himself (Senator Uba) and Senator Orji Uzor Kalu.
How would you rate the state of AMCON and the NSPMC?
“The meeting went very well, as you are aware that both agencies are very critical to the development of our country, most especially AMCON. Ours is to support and work closely with them to ensure that the money that has been with some few Nigerians are recovered.
“Mr President just recently, precisely in July this year, decided to amend the AMCON ACT so that they can operate in a better way and function better; because, as I speak to you, we have over 4 trillion naira which needs to be recovered from some few debtors. From our records, this amount of money is being dominated by less than 20% of debtors by application. Less than 300 people are holding that money, which is the government’s money and the government can also take over the debts from commercial banks so that they can save the banks from collapsing and the shareholders money will not just disappear. As we are speaking, nine years precisely after the establishment of AMCON, there has been very little or nothing.
“But with the intervention of Mr President and our efforts here in the National Assembly, we will try and see how we will be able to move very fast to achieve the recovery. We believe that with the support of other agencies like the EFCC, the ICPC and other agencies, the money can be recovered quickly…
“We are at the National Assembly are of the opinion that AMCON should auction the asset instead of keeping them, because keeping those assets will also mean that AMCON will continue to spend money to manage those assets So, by our direction today, we are looking forward to implementing the new areas which we believe we can support AMCON to actualise their mandate within the shortest possible time.
“In the case of security printing and minting PLC, we also are aware that it is a very critical agency; but the problem is that most of the security documents we are printing in the country today are being taken over by companies that are dominated by foreigners.
“The issue of infrastructure is also very fundamental. We also commend Mr President’s directive that all documents should be printed by Nigerian Security Printing and Minting Company. I have no doubt in my mind if Mr President’s directive is being implemented, as it is at the moment, the securities minting and printing would be more viable that they can sustain themselves and even generate more money to the country.
“Currently many countries that we have been to have most of their security documents printed by their government agency like security printing and minting, and we need to encourage them.
“We also found out that they have the capacity to do that but, most importantly, all the staff of the security printing and minting are Nigerians. By that it means we can have our documents safe and well protected.
“We can even go beyond printing those security documents in Nigeria by printing the security documents of other African countries here in Nigeria and that is the target at the moment.
What is your opinion on President Buhari’s directive to print Nigerian passports locally?
“The companies that were initially awarded those contracts to print those passports were given up to December this year, so I have no doubt in my mind that it won’t be a problem since their contracts have been given a limit.
“We may not have any problems of litigation so there is an obligation on the side of the Government to fulfil any contractual agreement; and I think that it is only the Nigerian immigration that needs to obey. I have no doubt in my mind that they will comply with the President’s directives, and here in the National Assembly we have committees from internal affairs and the committee that is also responsible to look into the case of the Nigerian immigration Service. Our committees will work together for us to resolve any issue so that we can also allow the security printing and minting to move on with printing of new passports; because at the moment the passports are even scarce. If you to the immigration office and you want to have your passport now you might not necessarily get it because there is this dispute going on, and I believe that it would be resolved as soon as possible – that is the only solution.