****Membership cost $70m annually
From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
Nigeria has begun a process to exit 90 of 310 international organizations memberships.
The decision is coming after accumulating a backlog of $120 million in membership dues and other financial commitments which costs the nation an average of $70 million annually.
Minister for Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun disclosed this to State House Correspondents at the end of Wednesday’sFederal Executive Council (FEC) in Abuja, chaired by President Muhammadu Buhari, the first since he returned from the United Nations General Assembly in New York.
Adeosun, who briefed alongside the Minister of Foreign Affairs, moderated by the Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, said the cabinet considered the report of an inter-ministerial committee which made the recommendations.
The minister did not name the particular organisations Nigeria will be withdrawing from but disclosed that the committee was given two weeks within which to review the recommendations after which a final decision will be taken by FEC.
Adeosun explained that the decision was taken because of the huge debts Nigeria was accumulating by her membership of some many of them with little or no benefits.
She said, “Basically Nigeria is a member of 310 international organizations and a committee was set up to review the rationale of our continued membership of such a large number of our organizations, particularly in the light of the fact that in many cases we are not actually paying our financial obligations and subscriptions which is causing some embarrassment to Nigeria and our image abroad. 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.
“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 are 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,”, she said.
Adeosun added that “We need to tighten up the procedures of committing Nigeria to any form of subscription or donations to international organizations.
“The committee is due to come back in the next two weeks with the final figures. And then ministers were then asked to look at the recommendations of those international organizations which we want to withdraw from and ensure that they are in support of those decisions before we will finalize the work on this issue. 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 as 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 necessarily do so.
“The subscription is $70 million per annum and there are lots and lots of arrears.”
According to Wikipedia some of the international organizations Nigeria is a member are which include: African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States, African Development Bank(ADB), African Union (AU), Commonwealth of Nations, Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Group of 15, G-19, Group of 24 and Group of 77.
Others are International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), International Chamber of Commerce, (ICC), International Civil Aviation Organization, (ICAO), International Criminal Court (ICC), International Development Association (IDA), International Finance Corporation (IFC), International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), International Hydrographic Organization (IHO), International Labor Organization (ILO), International Monetary Fund (IMF), and International Maritime Organization (IMO).
Others are International Mobile Satellite Organization (IMSO), International Olympic Committee, (IOC), International Organization for Standardization (IOS), International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement (IRCRCM), International Telecommunication Union (ITU), Interpol, Non-Aligned Movement, Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), Permanent Court of Arbitration, United Nations Organization (HNO), United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTD), United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), United Nations Iraq-Kuwait Observation Mission (UNIKOM), United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITR) and United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNIAMK).
Others are United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (UNMRWS), United Nations Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina (UNMBH$, United Nations Mission of Observers in Prevlaka (UNMOP), United Nations Mission of Observers in Tajikistan (UNMOT), United Nations University (UNU), Universal Postal Union (UPU), World Confederation of Labour (WCL), World Customs Organization (WCO), World Federation of Trade Unions (WFTU), World Health Organization (WHO), World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), World Meteorological Organization (WMO), World Tourism Organization (WTO) and World Trade Organization (WTO). (The Sun)