IMF Changes Hawkish Position on AMCON, Recommends Longer Winding Period

The International Monetary Fund (IMF)’s recommendations in 2013 is a significant departure from previous ones, as it advices a longer winding down period for the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON).
In the case of Nigeria, the IMF report, over the last two years, has focused on the status of the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON), which was setup to revive and stabilize Nigeria’s banking industry by freeing up bank balance sheets through the purchase of non-performing loans (NPLs). However, the 2013 recommendations were a significant departure from the previous year’s recommendations. While in 2012 the IMF was concerned with avoiding moral hazard and financial risks, and therefore recommended with a sunset clause for the end of 2017, the 2013 recommendations were tempered by a preference for a longer winding down period for AMCON and recommended that an inactive shell be maintained to reduce future cost in the event of need for a similar institution.
Bismarck Rewane, chief executive officer of Financial Derivatives Company  said, this shift in stance is an improvement from 2012 in that it recognizes AMCON’s achievements and acknowledges that risk factors remain inherent in the economy. However, we are of the opinion that the concerns of the IMF remain overly focused on unsystemic risk and that the threats from systemic risks remain necessitating AMCON’s continued active existence. In other words, AMCON has become a vital institution in the Nigerian financial system and should be allowed to operate in its current form in the interest of the macro economy.
The IMF Article IV is an annual country surveillance report which provides recommendations on a broad range of issues including fiscal, monetary and exchange rate policy; health care, pension, and labor market policy (including wages, unemployment com- pensation, and employment protection) and numerous other poicy issues.
The document is a key tool for market analysts of IMF member countries to evaluate the success of their country’s economic poli- cies and management in dealing with macro-economic stability and fostering growth. It also provides early warning signals for preventing economies from derailing and suffering the conse- quences of exogenous and internal shocks.

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