Published on Sep 27, 2017 Greenbarge Reporters
The Muhammadu Buhari’s government is not comfortable with Nigeria membership of no fewer than 310 international organisations and has set up a committee to review the rational behind such position.
The inter-ministerial working committee, the Presidency said, had already taken a critical look at the status of Nigeria’s membership of international organizations and associated financial obligations.
Briefing news men shortly after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting today, Wednesday, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, the minister of finance, Kemi Adeosun said that the committee had taken into consideration, the fact that in many cases, Nigeria has not been paying its financial obligations and subscriptions to such organisations, thereby causing the nation embarrassment and, damaging its image abroad.
“In particular, it was discussed that there are some commitments made to international organizations by former Presidents which were not cash backed. So when our delegations turn up at those organizations, we become very embarrassed. So that was what drove the committee.”
Adeosun said that the committee recommended that out of the 310 organizations, 220 organizations should be retained and that the country should withdraw membership from the reset.
She said that FEC however directed that more work should be done, “particularly there was a dispute as to the figure of how much is owed. The committee had a figure of about $120 million, but we are clear from ministry of Finance and other ministries that it is far more than that.
“Our subscriptions are in arrears in a number of major organizations. So, the directive of the council was that we should go and reconcile those figures and come back to council and have a payment plan for those figures to avoid Nigeria being embarrassed internationally.
“And also, that circulars needed to be issued on who can commit Nigeria because it was discovered that it would be a director or an ambassador who attended the meeting who committed subscription on behalf of Nigeria.”
The finance minister cautioned that Nigeria needed to tighten up the procedures of committing Nigeria to any form of subscription or donations to international organizations.
She said that the committee is expected to come back in the next two weeks with the final figures, adding that the committee was asked to look at the recommendations of those international organizations which Nigeria want to withdraw from and ensure that they are in support of those decisions before final decisions are taken.
“So basically, this is just prudence and value for money. Nigeria doesn’t need to be a member of every single organization but those we are members of, we have made a decision at FEC that we must prioritize and pay our obligations because that is part of the nation’s image.
“That is what gives Nigeria as a country the right to sit up very straight at international meetings. When you haven’t paid up your subscriptions you can’t necessary do so.
“The subscriptions is $70 million per annum and there are lots and lots of arrears.”
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