The Executive is committed to working in partnership to build a safe, peaceful, fair and prosperous society where everyone can enjoy a better quality of life now and in the years to come. We need a strong economy to deliver this goal and the Economic Strategy identifies the following vision for the Northern Ireland (NI) economy by 2030:
‘An economy characterised by a sustainable and growing private sector, where a greater number of firms compete in global markets and there is growing employment and prosperity for all’
The ultimate aim of this Strategy is to improve the economic competitiveness of the NI economy. The vision is long term in nature, reflecting the reality that it will take some time to rebalance our economy and build a stronger private sector.
The Economic Strategy identifies our priorities to rebalance and rebuild the NI economy (outlined in Sections 5 & 6 of the Strategy). We also identified the key actions we will take over the current budget period, and into the medium term, in order to deliver our vision.
It is important that this Action Plan is considered in conjunction with the Economic Strategy. It provides more detail on our identified actions and it reinforces the emphasis we are placing on implementation. It also recognises that the delivery of our vision will require co-ordinated action from all sectors and across Government.
The Strategy will be underpinned by relevant Action Plans and related strategies to progress each of the Executive’s economic priorities. We are currently engaging with key stakeholders to produce supporting strategies or action plans for the areas of Innovation / R&D, enterprise / business growth and skills.
Our commitments are built on an extensive assessment of global best practice in economic development. This illustrates that in order to strengthen economic competitiveness we need to increase employment and wealth by building a larger and more export-driven private sector. We also believe that this approach will help reduce poverty, promote equality and tackle existing patterns of disadvantage and division.
The actions are structured around the rebalancing and rebuilding themes of the Framework for Economic Growth and Prosperity (outlined in Section 4 of the Strategy).
Promoting Employment and improving Employability and Employment Opportunities
In setting out the actions for growth and prosperity, we are aware that significant volatility remains throughout the global economy. This means that the Strategy will be kept under review. As we move closer to the end of the current budget period, an updated version of the Strategy, including a detailed list of actions and targets, will be launched for the period beyond 2014/15.
The NI Economic Strategy recognises the importance of implementing the actions we have committed to deliver. In addition, we recognise the need to report transparently on performance.
The Executive Sub-committee on the Economy, chaired by the Enterprise, Trade & Investment Minister, Arlene Foster, MLA, will continue to play a key role in overseeing implementation. The sub-committee will receive annual updates detailing progress against delivery of each commitment and this will ensure the necessary accountability of the responsible Department / organisation. We will also publish an annual assessment of the wider health of the NI economy.