Foreign Affairs Ministry Decries Poor Funding

…Propose Abridging Nigeria’s Membership Of Int’s Bodies

Joseph Bakare

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Godfrey Onyeama, has revealed Governments discussion and consideration to reduce the number of International Organisations which Nigeria belongs to because of the paucity of funds.

Onyeama made this known while defending the ministry’s 2021 budget at the House of Representatives on Tuesday, November 3, in Abuja.

He said that the ministry is faced with the challenge of meeting its contribution to those international organisations.

“We are owing a lot, and in the Federal Executive Council (FEC); there is a process to rationalise and cut down on the International Organisations we belong to.

“This is because we are just owing monies left and right; and it is not even good for the image of the country,” he said.

Onyeama, who decried the poor funding of the ministry; reeled out the challenges facing the 2021 budget implementation.

The minister said that one of the challenges the ministry is facing is the movement of officers; ambassadors; and also their families.

He said that N1.6 billion is required for the movement of ambassadors; while officers will require N3.7 billion, making a total of N5.3 billion for the whole movement.

The minister said in addition to what was received in the revised budget; the ministry will require an additional N1.1 billion in 2021 to meet the cost of movement.

He stressed the need to address the inadequate overhead budgetary provisions to the missions; which is resulting in a lot of debt for electricity and rent.

“Just on Monday, the ambassador in Hungary called to say they are going to throw them out from the chancery building. That the landlord is coming; and that they do not have the money to pay.

“And we get that from a lot of missions; across the world; and that is not a sustainable way of running foreign service.

“Then this exchange rate differential with the CBN is really something we need to address once and for all.

“It is not so easy, all of these things are computed in naira; and all the payments abroad are in dollars; and once the exchange rate is changed, it never goes the other way; it always goes up, it never comes down visa vis the dollar. This means immediate shortfall for all our missions,” he said

The minister said that the ministry requires an additional capital allocation of N5 billion to address some of the missions’ renovation needs.

According to him, “a lot of our missions are eyesores; and it is just a huge embarrassment to the country that we can have a mission in such terrible conditions.”

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