The Federal government has announced plans to review the operations of the Technical Aid Corps (TAC) scheme as well as some of its embassies abroad.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Geoffery Onyeama, disclosed this on Wednesday in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) Forum in Abuja.
The review – according to him – became necessary as a result of the dwindling resources of the country and the harsh socio-economic realities prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
He stated that the scheme was a laudable sacrifice by the federal government, and will be sustained as much as possible.
“Hopefully, we will be able to sustain it because it is a sacrifice on our part; but the host countries also contribute through accommodation.
“We will have a review and if we need to downsize it slightly because of budgetary reasons we will.
“But the principle is a good one and it is something we have no intention of completely stopping,” Onyeama said.
He said although the government had earlier considered the closure of some of its embassies, the embassies are now to be reorganized rather than closed.
“I wouldn’t say the resources have improved but yes we are in a process of trying to rationalise.
“What we have discovered is that the process is actually more expensive closing down an embassy than to actually keep it going.
“The cost is huge to close down, so, we had to revisit it.
“When you put into a balance our interest in having presence in countries around the world to promote our economy, security and other vital national interests and our budgetary realities and limitations, we are looking at just rationalising those embassies rather than outright closure – having a lot of smart missions.
“We feel that would be more cost-effective than outright closure,” he said.