IoD NI has issued 10 measures that, if introduced by the Northern Ireland Executive, will mitigate the economic impacts of the coronavirus outbreak.
The 10-point plan has been developed by IoD NI with assistance from Ulster University Economic Policy Centre and Belfast-based consultancy firm Belmont Strategy; and is based on input from IoD NI members from across Northern Ireland.
If implemented, the proposed interventions will support businesses throughout the region as they attempt to manage the economic fallout of the pandemic, which has severely impacted almost every sector.
The 10 proposals published today are:
1. Introduce temporary flexibility in procurement rules
2. Leverage the expertise and skills of furloughed workers to fulfill essential roles
3. Relax “value for money” requirements on public expenditure
4. Government support should target small enterprises with cash flow issues
5. Closely monitor banking activity to ensure businesses have access to support they need
6. Maintain a functioning planning system to allow continued investment
7. Accelerate capital projects to generate investment and economic activity
8. Continue to progress existing policy developments that will stimulate investment
9. Prioritise reliable evidence to provide targeted support for businesses
10. Plan now for Northern Ireland’s economic recovery and return to competitiveness
Speaking about the proposed interventions, IoD NI Regional Director Kirsty McManus said:
“Firstly, on behalf of IoD NI I want to pay tribute to all the key workers, including NHS staff, who are putting themselves in harm’s way to keep the rest of us safe from this devastating virus. Our thoughts are also with the families of those who have passed away with coronavirus.
“While we recognise that this is first and foremost a public health emergency, we are also working very hard to help IoD NI members navigate the major economic challenges arising as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.
“We are speaking with members from across Northern Ireland every day to get an understanding of the challenges they are facing. We also appreciate that government departments are under significant pressure, and we want to support them as they work to support us.
“This 10-point plan provides deliverable solutions that if enacted will provide much-needed assistance to the Northern Ireland economy in the weeks and months ahead.
“It tackles a number of critical areas including procurement, support for local businesses and the importance of maintaining focus, where possible on aiding economic recovery.
“We will be presenting this plan to elected representatives and officials in the coming days as we continue to support our members and the wider Northern Ireland business community during these unprecedented times.
Richard Johnston, Deputy Director of Ulster University Economic Policy Centre, added:
“The economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak in Northern Ireland – and across the globe – is unprecedented.
“As we have seen in recent weeks, the speed at which the consequences have been felt is particularly concerning.
“The 10 areas of focus highlighted today reflect the main challenges facing IoD NI members. If implemented, these interventions will help to sustain many businesses across Northern Ireland now and in the time ahead.”