The Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) is facing an intermittent financial crisis because many members are not paying their dues, its top official said Tuesday.
Although its 56 members represent some 650 million people, the OIC secretariat only has a "meager" budget of 11 million dollars, said its secretary-general Ezeddine Laraki.
"It receives less than half of this amount although the tasks entrusted to it keep increasing due to the implementation of resolutions adopted by the summit and foreign ministers' conferences," he said at a four-day meeting of OIC foreign ministers.
"The collection of contributions remains a nightmare that bedevils the OIC and its very entity."
When he took office, Laraki said, the secretariat experienced a "serious financial crisis that threatened to cause its breakdown" with staff not paid amid unpaid dues by members.
Thanks to voluntary donations from some member states, the secretariat managed to cope and improved its financial and administrative management.
But he added: "If the OIC is duty-bound to assume an effective role in launching joint Islamic action, it must be provided with the necessary funds."
Speaking at the conference, Burkina Faso Foreign Minister Youssouf Ouedraogo said the OIC must be overhauled to strengthen its structure and improve its efficiency.
"If we want to see greater results and provide necessary infrastructure to the organization, member states must settle their dues on time," he said.
Malaysian Foreign Minister Syed Hamid Albar said steps must be taken to restore the relevance and effectiveness of the OIC, founded in 1969.
He called for an independent consultant to be appointed to study how the OIC secretariat could be made more accountable and efficient.
"It might perhaps be timely also for us to look into the charter of the organization itself to enable us to streamline our rules and procedures to meet the challenges of changing times." -- KUALA LUMPUR (AFP)
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