World Employers: Financial Markets Need to Provide Stability and Liquidity to Business

IOE President Prof. Wiseman Nkuhlu
IOE President Prof. Wiseman Nkuhlu

Lisbon and New York, February 10, 2009 – As governments around the world enact stimulus measures to deal with the recession, financial institutions must move quickly to speed the injection of new capital into struggling economies, according to the head of the International Organization of Employers.

“The financial markets need to fulfill their proper task of providing stability and liquidity to business, rather than serving their own interests,” stated IOE President Prof. Wiseman Nkuhlu of South Africa on the release of an IOE statement on the crisis at a forum in Lisbon.  “They must act to ease the current credit crunch and start circulating in the economy the cash injections received through various government stimulus packages.”

The Geneva-based IOE is the largest private-sector network in the world, representing national business federations in 140 countries.  It is the leading international business organization on social and labor matters, directly representing business in the International Labor Organization (ILO) and working closely with policy makers at all levels.  The United States Council for International Business (USCIB), based in New York, serves as the IOE’s American affiliate.

Just as the financial sector bore some of the responsibility for the onset of the crisis, it bears a similar responsibility for getting the economy moving again, said Prof. Nkuhlu, who spoke on the eve of an ILO European meeting in Lisbon.

“This easing of credit is particularly true for the small and medium-sized enterprises which form the backbone of our economies and employ our people,” he added.  “They are the sometimes forgotten majority in efforts to kick start the economy.”

Speakers at the IOE forum speakers provided a global overview of the impact and responses to the crisis.  In summing up the session, IOE European Vice President Renate Hornung-Draus of Germany spoke of the many similarities between countries in the identification of what employers see as critical in ensuring the life of enterprise and of the jobs they provide.

“Key support is needed to secure the fundamentals of growth,” she stated,” particularly in areas of ongoing investment in people through education and training.  The ILO meeting of European employers, workers and governments over the coming week needs to focus on the actions we all have to take to start moving forward again.”

IOE Executive Vice President Daniel Funes de Rioja of Argentina, who serves as employers’ vice chair of the ILO Governing Body, stressed the need to maintain an open trading system as a key means for business to revitalize its activities.

“We remain in a globalized world, and recent calls for a return to protectionist measures to satisfy short term political unpopularity must be actively and persistently resisted,” he urged.  “For example, a country like Argentina, which has itself had direct experience of a financial crisis, found a  key element in its recovery was its continuing to be able to access global markets.”

Within the ILO and elsewhere, employers need to be vigilant about adopting failed policies of the past as answers for the present difficulties,” warned Mr. Funes de Rioja.  “We owe it to our enterprises and to our citizens to remain focused on the real means of reviving growth and to make it happen quickly.”

The forum participants also benefited from the views and reflections on the impact of the crisis in their respective regions of USCIB Executive Vice President Ronnie Goldberg, who is IOE’s regional vice president for North America, as well as Yogendra Modi, chairman and CEO of Great Eastern Energy Corp. of India, and Francisco Van Zeller, president of the Confederation of Portuguese Industry.

USCIB promotes international engagement and prudent regulation in support of open markets, competitiveness and innovation, sustainable development and corporate responsibility. Its members include top U.S.-based global companies and professional services firms from every sector of the economy, with operations in every region of the world.  With a unique global network encompassing leading international business organizations, including the IOE, USCIB provides business views to policy makers and regulatory authorities worldwide, and works to facilitate international trade and investment.

Antonio Peñalosa, IOE secretary general
+41 79.409.27.16 or

Jonathan Huneke, USCIB
+1 212.703.5043 or

IOE statement: Economic Recovery and Employment

More on USCIB’s Labor and Employment Committee

IOE website

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