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UN asks personnel to halt hiring, prioritise costs as COVID-19 crisis leads to 'unexpected spending'

PTI | United Nations | Updated: 07-04-2020 19:11 IST | Created: 07-04-2020 19:11 IST
UN asks personnel to halt hiring, prioritise costs as COVID-19 crisis leads to 'unexpected spending'

The COVID-19 crisis has led to "some unexpected spending" at the United Nations and the world organisation is asking its personnel to prioritise spending and halt any new recruitment to ensure that there is cash for salaries and invoices, a spokesperson for the UN Secretary General said. "Our liquidity crisis is continuing as, unfortunately, arrears at the end of 2019 had hit an all-time high and those arrears have only been cleared partially," spokesperson for Secretary General, Stephane Dujarric, said at the daily press briefing on Monday, when asked to comment on a report that said the UN is facing a dire liquidity crisis.

"The COVID-19 is giving a rise to some unexpected spending, including supply chain distribution, construction-related costs that will have to be managed," he added. Dujarric said the UN has asked managers to prioritise spending and also to halt any new recruitment. He said the collections for 2020 for the first quarter are "unfortunately trailing behind estimates that we had and we're still awaiting confirmation from a number of Member States about their timing of their payment. Those include some of the bigger paying Member States. "The bottom line for us is that we have to continue to keep expenses to a minimum to ensure cash, there's cash for salaries and invoices, both for the regular budget and for peacekeeping, and we're continuing to speak to Member States at all levels to get greater certainty on their payments." According to a CBS News report, the United Nations is facing a "dire" liquidity crisis as it deals with added expenses related to the need to "respond to the global health crisis" of coronavirus. It cited an email from UN undersecretary general for General Assembly and conference management Movses Abelian.

The report said Guterres last week wrote to the 193 member states that the UN is under "increased financial constraints" related to the coronavirus as well as due to shortfalls related to a decline in payments of assessed dues by countries in addition to arrears by many nations. "We ended 2019 with arrears of USD 711 million, the highest level for a decade and a 34 per cent increase compared to the previous year," the UN chief said in his letter.


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