A prolonged period of political upheaval cannot be allowed to unwind the “extraordinary” progress that has been made during peace in the province the combined voice of the business comunity has claimed.
G row NI, the umbrella organisation which represents the vast majority of the Northern Ireland business community, has restating its belief that future growth of the economy is the best way of delivering a fairer and more prosperous society for everyone.
Outlining the group’s position spokesman Mervyn McCall said: “Notwithstanding the current political hiatus, the business community will continue to ensure that its primary focus is on the delivery of economic growth and job creation.
“The lack of political stability less than 15 months after the much heralded “A Fresh Start: the Stormont Agreement and Implementation Plan”, with its commitment to a properly functioning Executive, imperils not only our economy and but also the extraordinary progress that has been made over the past two decades to normalise our society.
“We urge our politicians to commit themselves to the restoration of a fully functioning Assembly and Executive with whom the business community can work in partnership to grow our economy, facilitating a better future for us all.
“The critical need to demonstrate both internally but also internationally that our society is fully committed to tolerance, equality and justice, and good governance has sadly been lacking on occasions.”
All of that, he said, had clear implications for the three main drivers to growing the economy and creating more jobs:
:: increased investment in skills and learning
:: focused strategic investment in infrastructure
:: the introduction of corporation tax of 12.5% in April 2018, a foundation stone of the Fresh Start Agreement.
“The negative implications of not delivering on all three drivers cannot be overestimated either in the domestic arena or internationally,” Mr McCall added.
Current events have brought into question not only the deliverability of these three key drivers but also political stability, a key factor for business when it comes to investment decision making, particularly when competing against other attractive locations.”
The “clear message” from the business community was that developing the economy and creating long term sustainable jobs was the best way of delivering a fairer and more prosperous society for everyone.
“At a time when the UK government is about to trigger Article 50 and all its potential implications for Northern Ireland, we need to give this critical matter our full attention.
“ We urge the political parties to redouble their efforts to establish a vibrant partnership between a fully functioning Executive and Assembly and the business community.
“There is no other way that will ultimately deliver the requisite conditions for peace and prosperity. We call on the political parties to come together for the benefit of our society.
“In a fast-paced global market, even standing still is going backwards. There is a huge cost to the current impasse.”