The Trade Union Congress, TUC, has identified the current state of job losses in the private sector, inability of state governments to pay workers’ salaries, steady decline in the revenue accruing to the country, among other factors, as obvious indications that the nation’s economy had already gone into recession.
The group also mentioned the current decline in oil price and oil theft as other indications of the country’s economic downturn.
Mr. Chika Onuegbu, Rivers State Chairman of the TUC, who made the situation known in a report on Saturday, stressed the need for swift intervention before the state of the country’s economy deteriorates to an unbearable situation.
Onuegbu said, “When I say the economy of the country has already gone into recession, it is because there has been a steady decline in the revenue accruing to the country and you are a witness to the fact that at a point, workers were being owed salaries.
“Apart from that, we can see that Nigerians have been experiencing job losses, especially in the private sector. If not for the rigidity in engagement of public sector employees, we would have seen job losses in that sector too.
“The economy is rather struggling. Let us be frank, a year ago, the naira went for a little over N160 to a dollar. Today, it is about N220. I have heard that the CBN is saying that the economy may go into recession.
“Basically, the truth is that the economy is already in recession. But the CBN will not come out and tell anybody that the economy is in recession because it may mean pressing the panic button.”
The TUC chairman lamented that, despite the obvious unpleasant economic trend, government at all levels had not been able to cut down on their expenses.
“The economy was already in bad shape before the fall in oil price. But the fall in oil price and the massive amount of crude oil theft contributed majorly to the nation’s poor economy.
“We started complaining in 2013 that the way things were going, workers’ salaries might not be paid. Unfortunately, politicians have not been able to cut down on their expenses because the citizens have allowed them to be profligate,” Onuegbu said.
The TUC Chairman, however faulted the position of Mr. Godwin Emefiele, Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, on the state of the nation’s economy
Emefiele had earlier warned that the economy was at risk of sliding into recession in 2016, adding that the implementation of the Treasury Single Account might affect the country’s economic growth.
But Onuegbu dismissed the CBN governor’s claim and declared that the nation’s economy had since gone into recession.
By Patrick Aigbokhan