By Victor Ahiuma-Young & Temitope Titilope

BANKERS in the country under the aegis of the Association of Senior Staff of Banks, Insurance and Financial Institutions, ASSBIFI, have warned that the nation’s economy was grinding to a halt as a result of lack of credit facility and high interest rate.

At a symposium held in Lagos to mark the World Day For Decent Work, with the theme: 50 Years of Nationahood: Whither The Labour of our heroes past?, President of ASSBIFI, Comrade Sanni Adeshina, said the fall-out of these twin problems had been factory closures, drastic slash in workers’ salary in our industry with many of the banks downsizing, right-sizing or retrenchments of labour.

He recalled that last year, the association warned that the rampaging global economic meltdown and financial crisis had battered world economic activity beyond what could had been previously anticipated, saying, “we made it clear that the crisis would be deep, long with slow recovery”. Evidence of this gloomy picture could be seen with economic growth in developing countries sharply with deterioration in the overall fiscal balance by as much as 6% points to a deficit of about 4% of GDP.”

Comrade Adeshina, lamented that a year earlier, the ASSBIFI had been raising alarm there was a dire need for government to put in place policies to insulate the nation’s economy and Nigerians from the fatal consequences of the crisis, but the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, and several Chief Executives Officers of the banks, kept deceiving Nigerians by dishing out perverted facts to assure Nigerians that the fundamentals of Nigeria’s economy is strong.

According to him: “Today, we are all living witnesses to the challenges being confronted by our ailing economy which is grinding to a halt. The indices are close down and collapse of industries, extreme below productivity, and liquidity problem leading to virtual absence of access to credit facility.

This scenario has only worsened in recent times with a greater push in the interest rates and vituallow activity in the real sector of the economy like production, agriculture, technical services and so on. It has also given rise to a drastic slash in workers’s salary in our industry with many of the companies downsizing, right-sizing, or shedding excess weight as the euphemism for retrenchment of labour. All this has not encouraged an increase decent work or fall in poverty in Nigeria of Africa in general.”

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