By Sadiq Umar – The Federal Executive Council (FEC) Wednesday resolved to withdraw Nigeria’s membership of 90 International Organizations over the country’s failure to meet up with her financial obligations.
Already, report is suggesting that Nigeria is owing a backlog of $120 million in membership dues and other financial obligations.
According to Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, who briefed journalists after the Wednesday FEC meeting, a committee had a figure of about $ 120 million as the debt owed. “But we are clear from ministry of finance and other ministries that is far more than that. Our subscriptions are in arrears in a number of major organisations,” she said.
Mrs Adeosun said FEC agreed that henceforth, Nigeria would only belong to international organizations considered to be necessary.
“Basically, Nigeria is a member of 310 international organisations and a committee was set up to review the rationale of our continued membership of such a large number of our organisations, 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,” she said.
“The committee made some recommendations: That out of the 310 organizations, 220 organisations should be retained and the rest we should withdraw membership from.
“In particular, it was discussed that there are some commitments made to international organisations made by former presidents which were not cash backed. So, when our delegations turn up at those organisations, we become very embarrassed. So that was what drove the committee.
“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 is far more than that. Our subscriptions are in arrears in a number of major organisations.
“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 organisation then begins to chase us for its money.”