Ibec, the group that represents Irish business, today welcomed Government’s Summer Economic Statement as an ambitious change in policy direction. Whilst remaining prudent about our public finances, the plan shows more purpose on the key infrastructural issues facing the country. This change in tone is positive from a business perspective as we enter a period of great uncertainty.
Ibec Director of Policy and Public Affairs Fergal O’Brien stated: "Over recent years Ibec has consistently urged Government to show more ambition at a critical juncture for the Irish economy by substantially increasing State infrastructure spend. The plan released today is a welcome change in tone on that front, even though more may eventually need to be done to meet our demographic pressures. Delivering on the ambition shown in today’s plan is now the challenge. In this context, producing an effective National Planning Framework and ten year capital plan over the coming months is essential.
“Long-term planning for our economy must place a sharp focus on an increase in investment. In particular, we welcome the fact that Government has reviewed its debt reduction strategy of targeting 45% of GDP, to facilitate increased capital investment. Such overly cautious debt management would have resulted in the sacrifice of much needed investment throughout the country.
“Ibec and Irish business look forward to engaging with Government to ensure timely and efficient delivery of key projects. The dual challenges of Brexit and a rapidly expanding population will require us to re-prioritise spending and be smarter about how we raise necessary funds. Along with Exchequer investment, better use must be made of public-private partnerships, other non-Exchequer finance (such as European Investment Bank funding) and the re-cycling of some under-utilised State assets to resource new infrastructure projects."