Business bodies urge new Economy Minister Simon Hamilton to 'hit the ground running'

Ann McGregor

BUSINESS organisations in the north were swift last night to offer up their support and congratulations to new Stormont economy minister Simon Hamilton, with whom they'll be working closely for the next five years - but insist he must hit the ground running.

And incoming Institute of Directors NI chair Ian Sheppard urged all of the the newly appointed ministers to work together to develop the local economy.


He said: "We want to see our political leaders develop a new spirit of partnership with business and community leaders that will place Northern Ireland on the global stage.

"For us to thrive economically we must put ourselves in a strong position to compete, and through better governance and investment we can turn ourselves into the best Northern Ireland we can be."

NI Chamber of Commerce chief executive Ann McGregor said: “We especially welcome Simon Hamilton in economy, Máirtín Ó Muilleoir in finance and Chris Hazzard in the Department of Infrastructure.

"All aspects of the Executive and the Assembly impact either directly or indirectly on the economy, but these three departments will be to the fore in developing plans around corporation tax reduction, development of the necessary physical and communications infrastructure and ensuring we have a steady supply of skilled workers.

“A joined up and strategic thinking Executive will provide a solid platform for a new period of economic recovery and growth.”

Corner shop organisation the Northern Ireland Independent Retail Trade Association (NIIRTA) has called on the Executive to "quickly publish a radical pro-business Programme for Government".

Its chief executive Glyn Roberts also said that having a effective opposition was also a welcome development, ensuring that the Executive is held to account.

He added: "The focus now should be on real delivery, collective responsibility and, as far as possible, to act like a normal coalition government.”

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