N'djamena- Chad (PANA) -- Interim African Union (AU) Commission President Amara Essy warned here Wednesday that lack of funds could paralyse the new continental body's activities.
Essy sounded the alarm in N'djamena at the opening of the second ordinary session of the AU Executive Council, which was attended by the Chadian President Idriss Deby and 36 African foreign ministers.
"If this rather regretful trend persists, it may seriously undermine the activities of the new commission and consequently, paralyse the good functioning of our organisation," the interim AU Commission president noted.
According to Essy, member states owed the AU secretariat in Addis Ababa a total of US$42.
5 million in contribution arrears by 15 February.
The financial situation has worsened since the beginning of this year because the 2002-2003 budget has not yet been adopted, he added.
Essy revealed that only 13 out of the 53 AU member states had paid their contributions between 1 June to 31 December 2002.
According to him, the problem of arrears clearly shows the need for the organisation to avoid relying solely on the statuary contributions by member states.
He recalled that experts had been appointed so as to make recommendations on alternative financing mechanisms for the Union.
According to Essy, a draft budget of US$23 million has been adopted for the period from 1 January and 31 August 2003.