NI Conservatives chairman, Irwin Armstrong, has queried Mike Nesbitt’s grasp of the economic situation, after the UUP leader appeared to criticise Invest NI’s focus on attracting Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).
“Mr Nesbitt apparently sees little point in trade missions to North America, the Middle East or India, demanding that the Executive and its agencies to concentrate solely on ‘indigenous business’”, Irwin observed. “Either he doesn’t understand properly the dynamics of growing our economy, or he’s simply determined to take cheap pot shots at Invest NI.”
“We certainly need to provide the best conditions to encourage home grown companies to launch and expand. However, realistically, new start-ups in Northern Ireland will only ever be part of the picture.”
“We sorely need investment from abroad and that’s one of the reasons why trade missions, organised by Invest NI or other agencies, are absolutely vital. Not only do large foreign companies bring in jobs in the numbers which we need to rebalance the economy, but they provide a vital life-line to local businesses who enjoy a huge ‘multiplier effect’ in terms of sub-contracted work and other benefits.”
“We always need to focus on the best means to create jobs and growth, as well as keeping an eye on the broader economic picture. By all means we should look at how Invest NI can work better for local companies and new start-ups, but to suggest, as Mr Nesbitt does, that we shouldn’t bother attempting to attract new foreign investment or increase exports, is, frankly, nonsense.”