Keeping focus on the domestic economy and closing working relationships are fundamental to the future prosperity CBI David Gavaghan has said.
Speaking at the business organisation’s annual luncheon the Northern Ireland chairman said tackling major challenges and grasping the opportunities was critical to the ambition to generate 50,000 jobs in the next five years.
Addressing more than 500 business leaders at Titanic Belfast he said delivering accelerated growth was the key concern.
“In recent years, Northern Ireland has consistently had lower economic growth compared to both Britain and the Republic of Ireland.
“In 2015, the UK economy grew by 2.2 percent, Ireland grew at 6.9 percent, while Northern Ireland grew at 1.4 percent.
“Stronger growth means more jobs. It makes it easier to reduce our high levels of economic inactivity.
“As important, it will help to fulfil the manifesto commitment of both parties in the Executive to provide the environment to create 50,000 new jobs over the next five years.”
The CBI, he said, fully supported this ambitious target. It bears witness to the ambition within the Executive to implement radical action to grow our economy and improve the region’s global competitiveness.”
Key actions to improve Northern Ireland’s competitiveness include increasing investment in education, cutting the cost of electricity for commercial use and securing supply and benchmarking infrastructure against competitors.
“There are no quick wins but we can start today,” he said.
It is widely understood that businesses across the globe like there to be some degree of political and economic certainty. The added burden for our politicians, civil servants and businesses as they seek to understand the potential implications of our future relationship with the rest of Europe is currently impossible to estimate. Regardless though of this backdrop, we must keep our focus on the existing challenges and opportunities facing our domestic economy if we are going to improve the lives of our citizens.”