Cash-strapped Nigeria eyes global bodies for cost-saving

2017-09-28 11:18
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Abuja - Nigeria has been advised to pull out of 90 international organisations, as part of a government drive to save money, the country's finance minister said on Wednesday.

Kemi Adeosun said annual subscriptions to such bodies cost the country about $70m but "in many cases" it had not been paying its dues.

A ministerial committee had recommended that "out of the 310 organisations, 220 organisations should be retained and the rest we should withdraw membership from", she told reporters.

No list was provided of the organisations and the minister said "more work was needed" to determine exactly how much Nigeria owed.

"The committee had a figure of about $120 million but we are clear... that it is far more than that. Our subscriptions are in arrears in a number of major organisations," she said.

Embarrassment 

Ministers were briefed on the recommendation at the weekly cabinet meeting and told the arrears were causing "some embarrassment" when Nigerian delegations travelled abroad.

Soon after her appointment in 2015, Adeosun launched Nigeria's first efficiency unit as a first step to cutting government waste and boosting the economy.

Not only did Africa's de facto biggest economy need to "put (its) fiscal house in order" but there was a need for "probity in the use of public funds", she said at the time.

A review was also announced into the cost of Nigeria's foreign missions, raising the prospect some embassies and consulates could close.

Nigeria has been forced to tighten its belt because of the slump in global oil prices that has slashed government revenues and triggered a months-long recession.

Value for money 

President Muhammadu Buhari has said he inherited a "virtually empty" treasury and pledged to recover "mind-boggling" sums of public funds looted by previous administrations.

Adeosun, a former PricewaterhouseCoopers accountant, described the latest move as "just prudence and value for money".

"Nigeria doesn't need to be a member of every single organisation but those we are a member of, we have made a decision... that we must prioritise and pay our obligations because that is part of the nation's image," she added.

"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."

Read more on:    nigeria  |  west africa

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