Ulster Unionist Economy spokesperson Sandra Overend has commented on the latest report published by Northern Bank which downgrades expected growth forecasts whilst calling on Arlene Foster to put a more ambitious export strategy in place.
The Mid-Ulster MLA said:
“This latest economic forecast from the Northern Bank will come as a severe blow for many individuals, families and businesses across Northern Ireland. Everyone is keenly looking for signs that a recovery is under way, so to learn that the Northern Bank is downgrading the 2012 economic forecast from 0.3% growth to 0.1% is very disappointing.’’
“The Northern Bank study has confirmed that the local construction industry is still experiencing real difficulty and is expected to contract 2.58%, although today’s announcement by the Ulster Unionist Regional Development Minister Danny Kennedy that the A5 road upgrade will go ahead with £330 million of investment and the promise of 800 construction jobs, will provide some much needed relief for the construction sector.”
“Some economic sectors including agriculture and hospitality, are faring better and we must continue to offer adequate support to these key sectors.’’
‘’What is abundantly clear is that Northern Ireland is still being badly affected by the recession and today (Tuesday) we have learned that up to 90 jobs are under threat at the Coca Cola bottling plant at Knockmore near Lisburn.”
“Whilst the Northern Bank has attributed its downward revision to the on-going European debt crisis which is obviously beyond the control of the Assembly or Executive, the onus still remains on the DETI Minister Arlene Foster to work to create an environment wherein the private sector can grow and create jobs in the process.’’
‘’The Chief Economist at Northern Bank also draws attention to the significant export opportunities within emerging markets. I have serious reservations about the low export targets as set out in the Economic Strategy and I would urge Minister Foster to put in place a more ambitious export strategy in order to capitalise on the undoubted opportunities which exist within countries such as Brazil, Russia, India and China.’’