Economic Productivity

Oral Answers to Questions — Economy – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 2:15 pm on 19 March 2024.

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Photo of Harry Harvey Harry Harvey DUP 2:15, 19 March 2024

11. Mr Harvey asked the Minister for the Economy to outline his plans to raise economic productivity. (AQO 185/22-27)

Photo of Conor Murphy Conor Murphy Sinn Féin

Raising productivity is one of my four economic objectives. It will require action on a wide range of policies, such as trade and investment, including making the most of dual market access; skills; leadership and management of business; investment in innovation; entrepreneurship; and a policy for high-potential sectors and businesses. I will take actions across all those areas. I will liaise with the expert critical friends that I have asked to advise on my economic vision about those actions to ensure that they have the impact that is needed.

Photo of Harry Harvey Harry Harvey DUP

Thank you, Minister, for your response. Further to last week's US visit, can you give us an update on the Department's efforts to attract more US investment?

Photo of Conor Murphy Conor Murphy Sinn Féin 2:30, 19 March 2024

There is an element of attracting inward investment here, but there is also an element, which we were involved in over there, of allowing our firms to be involved in export to the States. A growing number of them are doing that now. In that regard, the economic adviser, Joe Kennedy, has been very helpful in making sure that the firms that go over get access to the people that they want to talk to. It is a two-way street. It is not about going over with a begging bowl to ask for inward investment.

Of course, a strong part of the trip last week was about talking to people over there. It was also about having people who are already doing business here. The biggest selling point of doing inward investment is the fact that 70% of the companies that come here stay and further invest. At one of the events last week, which was probably the most powerful, people who have done that gave their testimony, rather than us selling. They did a terrific job of talking about their experience of working here, the people and the ethos here and how those were beneficial to them and their companies. We will continue to do that.

As I say, it is a two-way street. We want to create opportunities for local companies to be able to export to the States and elsewhere abroad and to take full advantage of our dual market access.

Photo of Edwin Poots Edwin Poots DUP

That brings to an end our time for listed questions. I commend the Minister and Members for getting to question 11. It was a good, interactive exchange. We now move to topical questions.