Nigeria to Scale Down Membership of International Organisations

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GEOFFREY ONYEAMA

The Federal Executive Council (FEC) on Wednesday gave a presidential committee two weeks to conclude arrangements towards scaling down Nigeria’s membership of international organizations.

Briefing State House correspondents at the end of the FEC meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari, the Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, said the FEC had proposed reduction of Nigeria’s membership of international organizations from 310 to 220.

Adeosun was accompanied to the briefing by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, and the Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to the President, Garba Shehu.

According to her, ministers have been asked to go back and review Nigeria’s membership of the organizations so that final report can be presented to FEC in the next two weeks.

Stressing that Nigeria has been paying $70 million annually on membership subscriptions, she said there was no need allowing subscription to accumulate in organizations that are not important to Nigeria’s developmental aspirations.

The new move, she said, was to prevent Nigeria from being embarrassed as the subscription arrears have continued to rise.

She said: “I’m briefing on a memo that was extensively discussed during FEC meeting. The Council deliberated on 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 large number of 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 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 heard from Ministry of Finance and other ministries that is far more than that. Our subscriptions are in arrears in several major organizations.”

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