Northern Ireland 'needs infrastructure investment to compete on global stage'

Dr Martin Spollen, SIB, pictured with Clodagh Hegarty, left, and Etain Doyle, ACCA Ireland at the ACCA Business Leaders’ Forum

NORTHERN Ireland needs more investment in key infrastructure to complete globally.

That was the message delivered to delegates at the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) Business Leaders Forum in Belfast.

Martin Spollen, chief investment officer at the Strategic Investment Board (SIB) heard that planned upgrades to key economic and social infrastructure will enhance he north's proposition as an attractive place to live, work and invest.

Dr Spollen highlighted the importance of these developments to delivering balanced economic growth and opportunities for all parts of the region – and the importance of modern infrastructure to the decisions of inward investors and to support growing indigenous companies’ access their markets.

He said the Stormont executive's investment strategy had, to date, seen £10 billion, pumped into infrastructure projects since 2008.

However, he stressed the potential for central government, local government and the private sector to collaborate more closely in planning and delivering future infrastructure investment.

Recent economic research findings suggested that a lower level of economic output is reinvested in capital assets in Northern Ireland compared to Scotland and the UK as a whole.

“Understanding Northern Ireland’s priority infrastructure needs, and planning to address these on an affordable and property sequenced basis, is at the heart of the executive’s investment strategy," he said.

"These projects will make the maximum impact for citizens in areas of transport, health, education, providing safe water, flood risk management and environmental protection.

“Balancing investment in new projects and maintaining the old is important, as is embracing the challenges and potential of new and developing technologies. When it comes to infrastructure systems – particularly in areas like transport - tomorrow may be very different from today.”

He added: "Our future infrastructure needs are being shaped by an aging population, increased mobility and migration, new cultural and ethnic influences, technological developments and demands of business and communities for high quality service provision. The Executive’s investment strategy lays out a plan to address these challenges.”

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