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Published On: Thu, Sep 28th, 2017

$70m burden: FG quits 90 int’l organisations

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By Lawrence Olaoye

The Federal Government has resolved to exit its membership of 90 international Organisations and associations because it could no longer afford to defray their $70 million annual financial obligations.
Briefing State House Correspondents after the weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting chaired by President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday, Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, said such was the recommendation of the Inter-ministerial Committee of the nation’s membership of international organisations.
Adeosun said Nigeria belongs to 310 international Organisations but the committee recommended the retention of its membership of 220.
She said the Council considered it unnecessary for the country to belong to so many Organisations more so when it was not meeting-up with their financial obligations.
Adeosun said, “In particular, it was discussed that there are some commitments made to international organizations made 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.
The committee made some recommendations. That out of the 310 organizations, 220 organizations should be retained and the rest we should withdraw membership from.”
She continued, “But council directed that more work needed to 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 circulars needed to be issued on who can commit Nigeria because it was discovered it would be a director or an ambassador who attended the meeting who committed subscription on behalf of Nigeria. Of course then the international organization then begins to chase us for its money.
“We need to tighten up the procedures of committing Nigeria to any form of subscription or donations to international organizations.”
According to the minister, the reason for the nation’s withdrawal from the Organisations was prudence and to ensure that Nigeria gets value for its money.
She equally pointed out that owing international Organisations to which Nigeria belongs is a disservice to the nation’s image just as she stressed that the Council has decided to prioritize the country’s obligations in the remaining associations it chooses to belong.

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