Ibec Issues Analysis Of The Programme For Government
Ibec, the group that represents Irish business, today published a detailed analysis of the Programme for Government, in which itsaid the ambition set out by the government must be matched by firm investment commitments and not squandered by short-sighted political compromise.
The group continued to say that the combination of strong economic growth and low interests creates a unique opportunity to make improvements to national infrastructure, reform public services and create a dynamic enterprise economy.
Ibec stressed that the government needs to take a more flexible approach to how EU fiscal rules are applied in order to invest the necessary amount, meaning it needs to secure a significant political agreement in Brussels.
Ibec Director of Policy Fergal O'Brien said: "Strong growth and a rapidly increasing population are putting severe pressure on the country's infrastructure and public services. We are currently investing far too little. Ireland’s capital investment expenditure is currently the second lowest in the EU while we have Europe’s fastest growing population.
"Much greater capital expenditure is needed to enhance the productive capacity of the economy and ensure sustainable growth in the future. Ibec will continue to support the government to argue for flexibility at a European level and ensure that Eurostat rules and definitions support the need to make much more use of private investment at a national and EU level.
O'Brien also claimed that a number of sectors are experiencing skills shortages and are having difficultly retaining talented staff. "The marginal tax rate remains too high and is a barrier to workers taking new jobs, doing overtime and going for promotions. Housing shortages in key urban areas are also making Ireland a less attractive place to do business and are a deterrent to workers based abroad looking to relocate here," he explained.
"With the right decisions, by the end of the Dail term in 2021, Ireland has the potential to see employment return to pre-crisis levels with an additional 250,000 jobs with government debt to GDP levels falling to 60%. The economy has the potential to grow by 3-4% each year. Record low interest rates on capital markets mean now is the time to expand and upgrade the national road network, bring broadband into every household in the country and make our education system among the very best in Europe," concluded O'Brien.
Read the report in full here.
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