Nigeria has announced her decision to withdraw from ninety international organizations.This decision was made known Wednesday by Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun while briefing State House Correspondents after the Federal Executive Council,FEC meeting at the presidential villa in Abuja.
She said council decided “That out of the 310 organizations, 220 organizations should be retained and the rest we should withdraw membership from.”
Adeosun began her disclosure thus: “I’m briefing on a memo that was extensively discussed during FEC meeting on a recommendations of an inter-ministerial working committee on the status of Nigeria’s membership of international organizations and associated financial obligations.
“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 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.
“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 organizations 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 necessary do so.
“The subscription is $70 million per annum and there are lots and lots of arrears.”