UN Might Not Have Enough Money to Pay Staff Next Month: Guterres

United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres has warned that the global body is in dire financial straits

United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres has warned that the global body is in dire financial straits More

The United Nations is facing its worst cash crisis in almost a decade and is warning that it may be unable to pay its bills by the end of the month, while urging member states to pay their contributions to the world body immediately. He warned that "the organization runs the risk of depleting its liquidity reserves by the end of the month and defaulting on payments to staff and vendors".

How did the world body end up more than US$200 million (RM839 million) in the red?

The United States is responsible for almost 28 percent of the peacekeeping budget but has pledged to pay only 25 percent - as required by U.S. law.

Heading into its 75th anniversary year, the UN is facing multiple challenges as it grapples with a shifting world order, and the funding crisis has been intensified by a push from US President Donald Trump to cut his nation's contribution to the UN budget. "Our work and our reforms are at risk".

Dujarric said measures the UN Secretariat put in place early in the year to align expenditures with cash inflows have averted "major disruptions" but "are no longer enough".

By the end of September, Dujarric said, member states had paid only 70 percent of the total assessment for the regular budget, compared with 78% at the same time a year ago. That means the USA owes $674 million for the 2019 budget alone.

If the funds don't flow in this month from more of the nations in arrears, the UN will likely continue its operations by dipping into its working capital fund temporarily.

President Trump has been critical of the amount that the US pays to the United Nations. Guterres has been working to improve United Nations operations and cut costs.

As of October 3, 128 of the UN's 193 member states had paid their contributions for 2019 in full.

Guterres said he introduced extraordinary measures last month to cope with the shortfall - vacant posts can not be filled, only essential travel is allowed, and some meetings may have to be cancelled or deferred. Agencies that received the greatest amount of money were the World Food Program, the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.

However, it owes a total $1.055bn, according to the United Nations spokesman's office, which is cumulative money owed from previous years.

The top contributing countries are Ethiopia, India, Bangladesh, Nepal and Rwanda.

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