UN unable to pay salary as Nigeria, others fail to pay dues

The United Nations Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, has called on member states to pay their outstanding contributions, as the organisation faces such a “severe financial crisis” that staff salaries risk not being paid next month.

Guterres said this on Tuesday while addressing the UN General Assembly to introduce a proposed budget for 2020.

The UN might start November “without enough cash to cover payrolls,” Guterres warned. “Our work and our reforms are at risk.”

Some member states that have not paid their dues include- Nigeria, Israel, Brazil and Iran.

The United States, which is the biggest donor to the UN, has not also paid its dues in full following the decision of President Donald Trump to reduce America’s contribution to the UN.

President Muhammadu Buhari sent a multitude of delegates to this year’s UN General Assembly sessions, including the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Godfrey Onyeama, in SSeptember.

At least three governors and six ministers were on the trip accompanied by a retinue of aides and carry-ons racking up thousands of dollars in estacodes, according to Africa Report.

Two Nigerian nationals- Deputy Secretary-General, Amina Mohammed and current President of the UN General Assembly, Tijjani Bande – are also currently among the UN’s most high-ranking officials.

Nigeria had in 2017 resolved to withdraw from 90 out of the 310 international organisations to which it has financial commitments.

The then Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, had put Nigeria’s annual commitment to all the international organisations at $70m.

She had said the country owed all the organisations about $200m, adding that the decision to withdraw from 90 of such organisations was aimed at cutting cost.

Guterres called on UN member states to “recommit to paying your financial obligations on time and in full.”

Of 193 members, 129 had paid their contributions to the regular budget, according to Guterres’s spokesman, St├ęphane Dujarric.

By the end of September, 70 per cent of the total amount needed for budget operations had been paid, Dujarric said. At the same point last year the UN had received 78 per cent of its budget.

“The secretariat could face a default on salaries and payments for goods and services by the end of November unless more Member States pay their budget dues in full,” Dujarric said.

The US is expected to cover 22 per cent of the UN’s regular budget, according to a Congressional Research Service report published in 2018.

According to CNN, the US is obligated to contribute $674m to the UN regular budget for 2018-2019.

However, it owes a total $1.055bn, according to the UN spokesman’s office, which is cumulative money owed from previous years.
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