Business

IoD publishes measures to mitigate the economic impact of Covid-19 on Northern Ireland

The IoD says the north must plan now for economic recovery and a return to competitiveness.
Ryan McAleer

THE body representing company directors in the north has published a list of measures it says can mitigate the economic impact of Covid-19.

The Institute of Directors (IoD) Northern Ireland has called on the Executive to consider its 10-point plan, which ranges from temporary flexibility on procurement rules to Government intervention to target small enterprises with cash flow issues.

The IoD’s regional director, Kirsty McManus said the list had been drawn up with Ulster University’s Economic Policy Centre (EPC) after consulting with members spread throughout the north.

“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 and a return to competitiveness,” she said.

The business group has called for capital projects to be accelerated to help generate investment and economic activity, and said that a functioning planning system must be maintained to similarly allow for investment to flow.

The IoD also said the government’s ‘value for money’ requirements on public expenditure could be relaxed, while the skills and expertise of furloughed workers could be used to fulfil essential roles.

It also called for “reliable evidence” to be prioritised to provide targeted support for businesses, and said banking activity should be closely monitored to ensure firms have access to the support they need.

The IoD has also said Northern Ireland must plan now for economic recovery and a return to competitiveness.

Ms McManus said the body will present its plan to elected representatives and officials in the coming days.

Richard Johnston of the Ulster University’s EPC said: “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.”

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