There are indications that Nigeria will be shutting down some embassies and high commissions abroad because of embarrassing dwindling national resources.
This was contained in a statement from the President, Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday, as public finances have been hit hard by a slump in vital oil revenues.
According to the Presidency, a committee will review all Nigerian embassies to determine those that are essential, the presidency said in a statement.
It quoted Buhari as telling foreign ministry officials there was no point keeping embassies “all over the world with dilapidated facilities and demoralised staff.”
“Let’s keep only what we can manage. We can’t afford much for now. There’s no point in pretending,” Buhari said.
With oil accounting for more than 90 percent of Nigeria’s foreign exchange earnings and about 70 percent of government revenues, the fall in crude prices and output has hurt finances and the naira currency, with foreign investors pulling out of its stock and bond markets.
The weakening currency has fuelled inflation and driven up the cost of food and other essential imports.
Buhari took office in May after being elected on promises to fight the endemic corruption and mismanagement of public funds that he believes has led to $150 billion being stolen from state coffers over the past decade.
Below is the full statement:
FG TO REVIEW NUMBER OF NIGERIAN FOREIGN MISSIONS – BUHARI
STATE HOUSE PRESS RELEASE – President Muhammadu Buhari said Tuesday in Abuja that his administration will undertake a review of Nigerian foreign missions to determine those that are really essential.
Speaking after being briefed by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Bulus Lolo, President Buhari said that a Presidential Committee will soon be established to carry out the review.
The President said that the review will determine the number of essential missions Nigeria needs to maintain abroad so that appropriate standards and quality can be maintained.
The President said that there was no point in Nigeria operating missions all over the world “with dilapidated facilities and demoralized staff” when the need for some of the missions was questionable.
“Let’s keep only what we can manage. We can’t afford much for now. There’s no point in pretending,” President Buhari told Ambassador Lolo and other officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The President also called for the record of former government officials and other persons still using diplomatic and official passports illegally, saying that his administration will take necessary action against them.
“Something has to be done so that we can get back our respectability as a country. Some people carry official passports and get involved in all sorts of negative acts. We need to do something about it,” the President said.
Ambassador Lolo told President Buhari that the challenges facing the Ministry of Foreign Affairs included the absence of a Foreign Service Commission, poor funding of foreign missions, policy inconsistencies and training deficiencies, among others.
Special Adviser to the President
(Media & Publicity)
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