The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Goeffrey Onyeama, says more funding is required to revamp the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Nigerian Missions for effective service delivery.
Onyeama made this known when he appeared on the News Agency of Nigeria Forum in Abuja, stressing the need to give more priority to the Foreign Affairs Ministry.
According to Onyeama, funding has been the major challenge of the Foreign Ministry, adding that improved budgetary allocation to the Ministry would boost responsive and effective operations of the headquarters and missions abroad.
The Minister noted that a lot of procedures and systems are still very archaic and more money is needed to make the ministry dynamic and responsive to fit into the a 21st century world.
He said Nigeria’s foreign ministry was least funded compared to other countries same size as Nigeria like South Africa and Egypt.
He said: “The big challenge is the funding of our missions; we all know that resources had been a real problem.
“If you want to prioritise your foreign relations and your foreign Ministry, you have to make the funds available for that.
“Compared with other countries the same size as Nigeria like South Africa, Egypt and you see the percentage of the budget that is allocated to Foreign Ministry is much higher than ours.
“And we see a lot of issues with our missions abroad and funding is always at the core.
“It has always been one very important challenge and I think the headquarters itself.
“Because the Foreign Ministry is actually the cutting edge in terms of interface with the rest of the world.
“We are in the 21st century but lot of our procedures and systems are still very archaic and we really need to spend money to make it dynamic and responsive outfit so that’s a real challenge.”
The Minister said there was the need to reassess Nigeria’s foreign policy in line with current trends in other to respond better to present day challenges.
Onyeama said: “We will have a big conference to reassess our Foreign Policy Objectives as a country and that is clearly something that we need to do.
“We have always operated from the basis that Africa is the centrepiece of our foreign policies, but I think that was because of the circumstances at the given time.
“So, a good challenge will be to come up with a good foreign policy directive that responds to the challenges of today.”