Ulster Unionist Leader Mike Nesbitt has questioned the value of InterTradeIreland role in job creation following information he has received on the number and type of jobs created.
The Strangford MLA said:
‘The role of InterTradeIreland is to boost North/South economic co-operation to the mutual benefit of Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. In a statement to the Assembly on 6th November the deputy First Minister outlined that this body had created or sustained 115 jobs in the first half of this year against a full-year target of 150. I questioned whether this was in fact good value given that the budget of InterTradeIreland in 2012 is £9,822,000 per annum, making it £65,480 for each job created or sustained.’
‘I have subsequently asked the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment to detail the nature of these jobs and the response was far from encouraging. The majority of the jobs created were in administrative and support service activities and I was informed that “InterTradeIreland does not collect data on salaries.’
‘There are two issues to consider here; firstly, job creation must be at the forefront of our economic plan and we must be seeking to create highly skilled jobs which pay above the median income. If IntertradeIreland does not collect data on salaries, then it certainly ought to. Its not as if they are creating thousands of jobs and have a mass of data to collate. Secondly, North South partnerships must only be utilised if they are operating to the mutual benefit of both countries and there is clear evidence that they are doing so. It is questionable as to whether InterTradeIreland is playing its part in both these aspects.”