Nigeria is to contribute 16.96 million dollars to the 522 million-dollar African Union (AU) budget for 2015 as adopted in Malabo on Friday, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports.
The 23rd Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the Union in Malabo adopted the budget on the last day of this week’s AU summit.
Documents made available to NAN in Malabo showed that Nigeria’s assessed contribution is $699,421 higher than the 2014 figure of 16.2 million dollars.
It was learnt that the contribution of the 54-member AU member states to the 2015 budget is 131 million dollars compared to the 126 million dollars in 2014.
Nigeria is responsible for about 17 per cent of the operational budget of the AU and the 2015 budget.
According to the current scale of assessment, 65 per cent of the 131 million dollars contribution would be assessed on the five main contributors including Nigeria, Algeria, Egypt, Libya and South Africa.
International partners would contribute 72 per cent of the budget (225.5 million dollars) while 10.9 million dollars, 4.7 million dollars and 205,000 dollars would be drawn from the reserve fund, acquisition and property fund, and the women fund respectively.
A breakdown of the approved budget showed that the AU would spend 142.6 million dollars for operational budget and 379.4 million dollars on programmes.
It was further gathered that the 2015 budget framework focuses on the five pillars of the AU strategic plan including peace and security, socio-economic development, integration, capacity building and communications.
At the closing ceremony of the AU summit on Friday, President Mohammed Abdel Aziz of Mauritania, the AU Chairperson, called on member states to take necessary measures on the alternative sources of funding the AU.
Aziz expressed concern on the union’s over-dependence on international partners to fund the organisation’s programms.
Nigeria’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Aminu Wali, in a statement read at the Executive Council of the Union prior to the adoption of the budget, decried the over dependence on partners.
He noted that the 2015 budget increased level of dependence on international partners was “alarming’’ and required urgent attention from the union.
“If we do not depend on international partners this much at our national levels, I believe we can replicate same at the continental.
“Today, Africa’s economic growth has been exponential with the discovery and exploration of new resources in some countries, the development of domestic markets in some and industrialisation in some others.
“With some rising revenues in these countries, we can as well increase our stake in financing the union, while expediting actions on modalities towards reducing dependence on international partners for funds’’, he said.
NAN recalls that at the AU Assembly meeting in Malabo, the Nigeria delegation had recommended an expeditious conclusion of work on the recommendations of the President Olusegun Obasanjo panel on the alternative sources of funding the AU.
The proposal to urgently widen the revenue base of the union by Nigeria was seconded by Senegal and Rwanda.
The report of the Obasanjo panel was adopted since May 2013 and some of their recommendations to raise additional funds for the AU included hospitality tax on hotel bookings and tax on airline tickets.
A Nigerian diplomat, familiar with the recommendations, told NAN that “there are clear indications that some countries are out to kill the process and recommendations of the Obasanjo panel for their perceived national interests.’’
“Some countries that are dependent on tourism had shown limited interest on some of the key recommendations of the panel’’, the diplomat added.