Economic Strategy focused on building more competitive Northern Ireland - Foster

Developing a stronger, more vibrant and competitive Northern Ireland economy is the key aim of the draft Economic Strategy which was published today.

Launching the document, Enterprise Minister, Arlene Foster said the strategy had been developed by politicians to meet the needs of the local economy. The Executive today also launched the draft Programme for Government and Investment Strategy for Northern Ireland.

Key targets include:

  • Supporting the promotion of over 25,000 new jobs

  • Achieving £300 million investment through Foreign Direct Investment (FDI)

  • Pressing for the devolution of Corporation Tax and reducing its level

  • Increasing the value of manufacturing exports by 15%

  • Supporting £300 million investment by businesses in Research and Development – with at least 20% coming from Small to Medium sized Enterprises (SMEs)

  • Increase visitor numbers to 3.6 million and tourist revenue to £625 million by 2013.

Arlene Foster said: “This strategy is being published at a time of great uncertainty in the global economy.

“With that in mind, our overarching goal remains the pressing need to strengthen our competitiveness through a focus on export-led growth. To achieve this we will continue to prioritise the need to deepen and diversify our export base in order to increase employment and wealth across Northern Ireland.

“There are certain sectors and markets where we believe we have the greatest potential to succeed. At the same time, we recognise the need to be responsive to new national and international market opportunities.”

Creating the right mix of policies to boost competitiveness and export performance, including the power to vary the rate of Corporation Tax, is also of key importance, the Minister continued: “Both this strategy and the draft Programme for Government contain a commitment to securing Corporation Tax powers in a timely and affordable way.

“However, regardless of the outcome on Corporation Tax, we are confident that the actions outlined in this draft strategy will strengthen our economic competitiveness.”

Concluding, Arlene Foster said: “Rebalancing and rebuilding the economy are the twin goals we have identified in order to become more competitive and we have outlined a range of actions and investments to achieve this. We have also included targets to monitor our performance.

“This is an ambitious strategy and one that requires a partnership approach, from the Executive and public sector, as well as companies and the workforce within the private, community and voluntary sectors. I would encourage all stakeholders to take the time to carefully consider and respond to this document and play their part in helping us deliver the right economic strategy for Northern Ireland.”

A copy of the draft Economic Strategy can be found at thefollowing link: