The Federal Government says it has begun the process of terminating its membership of 90 international organisations out of the 310 organisations it belongs to.
The decision is coming after accumulating a backlog of $120m in membership dues and other financial commitments which costs the nation an average of $70m annually.
The Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, said this while briefing State House correspondents at the end of the Federal Executive Council in Abuja on Wednesday.
Adeosun, who briefed journalists alongside the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, said the cabinet considered the report of an inter-ministerial committee which made the recommendations.
Although she did not name the organisations which Nigeria would be cutting ties with, Adeosun disclosed that the committee was given two weeks within which to review the recommendations after which a final decision would be taken by FEC.
She 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.
Adeosun said, “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.
“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.
“The committee made some recommendations; that out of the 310 organisations, 220 organisations should be retained and the rest we should withdraw membership from.”
She added that the council directed that more work needed to be done, particularly where there was a dispute as to the figure of how much was owed.
The minister said the committee had a figure of about $120m 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.”
Adeosun said Nigeria did not need to be a member of every single organisation but FEC had decided to prioritise Nigeria’s obligations nation’s image.
Some of the international organisations Nigeria belongs to include: African Development Bank, African Union, Commonwealth of Nations, ECOWAS, Food and Agriculture Organisation, Group of 15, G-19, Group of 24 and Group of 77.
Others are International Atomic Energy Agency, International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, International Chamber of Commerce, International Civil Aviation Organisation, International Criminal Court and International Maritime Organisation.