Lake Chad Basin: Chairman laments N4.5b debt burden of member-countries

WorldStage Newsonline– The Chairman of the Council of Ministers, Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC), Mr Suleiman Adamu on Thursday lamented the non-payment of contributions by member-nations to the commission, saying it had become a “recurring issue”, which was unacceptable to the council.

Adamu, who is Nigeria’s Minister of Water Resources said at the 64th Ordinary Session of the council in N’djamena, Chad that outstanding financial commitments of member-states to the commission was 9.99 billion CFA Francs (about N4.5 billion).

He said that non-payment of contributions by member-nations to the commission had become a “recurring issue”, which was unacceptable to the council.

Adamu said that the backlog of funding commitments of the member-states was crippling activities at LCBC’s Secretariat.

He disclosed that none of the nations had paid contribution of the 2018 Budget of the commission.

He, however, announced that measures, including writing letters to the defaulting countries, were being taken to recover the funds.

Absolving Nigeria from the indebtedness to the commission, the chairman said that the country had met all its commitments except for 2018, which was due to some issues at the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

“Nigeria has never defaulted in paying its contribution to the commission, especially in the last three years.

“For 2018, we have not paid due to some issues at the Central Bank. The money has been in the bank and we are trying to sort out the issues and quickly remit it to the commission,” he said.

He urged the other countries to strengthen their commitment to the commission by meeting their financial obligations.

According to him, we cannot demand so much effort from our Executive Secretariat while depriving it of the resources necessary to carry out its mission and mandate with serenity.

Earlier, the Executive Secretary of LCBC, Amb. Mamman Nuhu, had in his remarks, stated that the meeting was taking place at a time marked by the resurgence and upsurge of Boko Haram attacks on the military and people.

He said that the development was distracting the commission and governments in the Lake Chad Basin from real development objectives.

Nuhu, however, said “we must work to safeguard and strengthen the climate of peace, security and stability in the basin as a prelude to broader actions for sustainable and inclusive solutions.

“There is no doubt that the implementation of the Regional Stabilisation Strategy and reconstruction of the areas of the basin affected by the Boko Haram crisis will contribute to the achievement of this objective.”

He called for adequate funding of the commission “to enable the commission to play its role effectively in this decisive phase; LCBC needs more than ever, to be accompanied and supported by member-states.

“This will be done by providing it with the financial and material resources it needs. We must, therefore, commit to honouring our obligations to the organisation.”

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