Liberia Risks AU Sanctions; Fails to Pay Dues Nearing US$900k

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The threat of sanctions come just two years after the AU’s11th extraordinary summit agreed that the imposition of sanctions was necessary keep members who fail to honor their annual financial contributions in check.

Monrovia – Liberia is at risk of being sanctioned by the African Union unless it settles its indebtedness to the continent’s governing body.

Multiple sources confirmed to FrontPageAfrica Thursday that Liberia’s debt is said to be close to a million dollars, which if not paid could lead to a loss of voting rights and rights to weigh in on key decisions regarding the continent.

The threat of sanctions come just two years after the AU’s11th extraordinary summit agreed that the imposition of sanctions was necessary keep members who fail to honor their annual financial contributions in check.

In recent years, dues payment by member-states have dropped. At the end of the financial year in 2019, only 50% of member states had paid their dues. 

Under the sanctions regime, indebted nations adopted a total suspension of a member state who will be barred from participating in the meetings of the assembly or any meeting of the African Union.”

The contribution required from AU member states toward the bloc’s budget increased to 14 percent in 2017, which is an 11 percent increase from previous years, according to AU figures. 

Multiple sources confirmed to FrontPageAfrica Thursday that Liberia’s debt is said to be close to a million dollars, which if not paid could lead to a loss of voting rights and rights to weigh in on key decisions regarding the continent

Currently, the AU depends on foreign donors, who, in 2019, will pay for 54 percent of a total budget of US$681.5 million, or 596 million euros.

The AU’s initial financing proposal, dating from the 2016 Rwanda Summit, seeks to create “equitable and predictable sources of financing and reduce dependency on partner funds, and cover 100 percent of the AU’s operational budget, 75 percent of its program budget and 25 percent of its peace funding.

The proposal directs member states to implement a 0.2 percent levy on eligible imports from non-AU member countries to help the union realise its goal of financial independence.

The sanctions measures is aimed at ensuring that the AU’s 55 member states meet their financial obligations to the Union in time. 

The sanctions regime which came into effect 2018, stipulates the short and long term measures member-states will face for defaulting to pay partly or in full, their assessed contributions, within a period of six months to two years. 

The categories of the sanctions are; cautionary, intermediate and comprehensive.

Cautionary sanctions will be applied to member states who do not pay 50% of their assessed contributions within six months. Such states will be deprived their right to take the floor or make any contributions in the meetings of the African Union.

Intermediate sanctions applies to members who are in arrears for one year. 

According to the AU Secretariat, in this instance, the member states shall be suspended from being a member of a Bureau of any organ of the Union; host any organ, institution or office of the Union; lose the right to have their nationals participate in electoral observations missions, human rights observation missions and will not be invited to meetings organized by the Union and further, such states will not have their nationals appointed as staff members, consultants, volunteers or interns at the African Union.

Under the comprehensive sanctions which kick in after a member state defaults its payments for two years, such states are liable to the cautionary and intermediary sanctions and their right to participate in the meetings of the Union will be suspended. Exceptions will be granted to members who demonstrate conditions beyond their control to meet their financial obligations.

Nearly half of the AU states at 24 countries are at various stages of implementing the Kigali decision on financing of the Union to finance in full, the operational costs of the Union, 75% of AU programmes and 25% of peace support operations gradually by 2021.

Failure to pay dues continues to put the AU in a difficult position in trying to plan, implement and execute programmes and activities. The sanctions regime, according to the AU is key to addressing the weaknesses in the compliance arrangements.

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