The Northern Ireland Independent Retail Trade Association (NIIRTA) has urged the newly appointed Executive Ministers to quickly publish a radical pro-business Programme for Government.
NIIRTA, which represents over 1600 members, was the only local business organisation to publish its own Programme for Government, which has 97 policy priorities for all nine Executive offices.
NIIRTA Chief Executive, Glyn Roberts said: “We congratulate the new Executive Ministers on their challenging new positions and look forward to working with them all. Having a effective opposition is also a welcome development, ensuring that the Executive is held to account”
“The new NI Executive must hit the ground running with a radical Programme for Government to address the huge economic challenges facing Northern Ireland. Its focus should be on real delivery, collective responsibility and (as far as possible) act like a normal coalition government.
“Central to the next Executive Programme is the need to boost our productivity as a region and be more ambitious for growing the NI Economy. Rather than accepting a growth rate of one or two percent, could we achieve 10% growth over the next five years?
“It is crucial that the business community brings solutions, rather than problems to the Executive. For our part NIIRTA has produced a comprehensive 97-point Programme for Government, which includes policy priorities for all nine of the new Executive departments”
“In our Economic Programme for Government we outline detailed proposals for a radical reform of business rates, new Enterprise Zones, City Deals, more BIDs and investment in infrastructure. Action on addressing the high business costs; a coordinated plan to tackle red tape and creating a more vocational and professional education system are all key priorities in our Plan.”
“The 12.5% Corporation Tax rate is no silver bullet. Without real investment in Skills and Infrastructure its real potential will be lost. Likewise we need radical root and branch reform of Business Rates and a new Small Business Rate Relief scheme, which is targeted to the companies that need it.
Over the few weeks vital negotiations on the new Programme for Government will conclude. Business and Trade organisations need to be part of those discussions to ensure that we have a real and genuine partnership to ensure real delivery and a PFG, which that has a 10% economic growth target as its number one priority.
“With a competitive tax regime, modernised infrastructure and investment in skills, there is no reason why Northern Ireland could not be the best place in the UK and Ireland to locate or start a business. All we need is the ambition,” added Glyn Roberts.