By Nkiruka Nnorom
SHAREHOLDERS of Wema Bank Plc have kicked against the 0.5 percent contribution made by deposit money banks to the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria, AMCON, from their total assets and the plan to extend the lifespan of the bad debts of the bank. Speaking at the bank’s Annual General Meeting, AGM, in Lagos, they also urged the Board of Directors to consider the payment of dividend to the shareholders having concluded the reorganisation of the bank’s capital and successfully returning the bank to profitability.
Speaking on behalf of other shareholders, Sir Sunny Nwosu, former National Coordinator, Independent Shareholders Association of Nigeria, ISAN, said that while the banks are heavily levied by both the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation, NDIC, and AMCON, both agencies render the same service to the banks.
He stated: “Despite the struggling of the bank’s Board, we paid N2 billion to AMCON. Just because they get the money very cheap, they are now planning to extend their tenure and we are going to say total no to that.
“If the National Assembly is going to do it properly, there will be a public hearing where shareholders are gong to mobilise to Abuja to challenge this 0.5 percent which AMCON is taking.
Most of the assets taken by AMCON are being shared and resold and once they do that, they make maximum profit from that while we are struggling to sustain the operations of AMCON.”
Presenting the annual report for the year ended December 31, 2018 before the shareholders, the Chairman, Wema Bank, Mr. Babatunde Kasali, explained that the conclusion of the capital re-organisation exercise, which the bank undertook in 2017 would lead to an efficient balance sheet, as ploughed back profit can be capitalised to grow the business while positioning the bank for dividend payment in the near term.
He informed that the bank is now at the final stage of its restructuring exercise which commenced in 2009 and commended the shareholders for standing with the bank through the first two phases of the exercise.