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UN faces deficit, may not have funds to pay staff wages next month 

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has warned that the United Nations may not have enough money for staff salaries next month if member states fail to pay their dues. Addressing the 193-member UN General Assembly’s budget committee, he said if he had not worked since January to cut spending then “we would not have had the liquidity to support” the annual gathering of world leaders last month.

“This month, we will reach the deepest deficit of the decade. We risk … entering November without enough cash to cover payrolls. Our work and our reforms are at risk,” he said. The largest contributor, US owes approximately $381 million for prior regular budgets and $674 million for the 2019 regular budget.

It is responsible for 22 per cent of the over $3.3 billion regular budget for 2019, that pays for work including political, humanitarian, disarmament, economic and social affairs, and communications. US President Donald Trump has previously said that Washington pays an unfair percentage of the cost of the UN and has pushed for reforms.

Guterres said he introduced extraordinary measures last month to cope with the shortfall, vacant posts cannot be filled and only essential travel is allowed. UN operations in New York, Geneva, Vienna, Nairobi and at regional commissions will be affected. UN spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said so far 129 countries had paid their dues for 2019, which amounted to almost $2 billion.

The too contributing countries are Ethiopia, India, Bangladesh, Nepal, and Rwanda. They pay their troops according to their national salary scales and are reimbursed by the UN. The UN paid $1428 a month per soldier as of July 2019.

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