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Invest NI offers £152m to 'promote' 6,000 jobs and pledges 40,000 more

By John Mulgrew

Invest NI says it helped to create 5,900 jobs in the past year and is aiming to add as many as 40,000 new posts over the next four years.

The business building body says it "promoted" 5,600 new jobs during 2016/17.

Invest NI says its offers to businesses totalled £152million for the year. That is money offered to companies to help create jobs and investment. It has also laid out a new business strategy over the next four years to 2021.Invest says it's aiming to increase overall sales across its 1,650 client businesses by between £3.2bn to £4.2bn.

It wants to grow sales outside Northern Ireland by anywhere from £2.4bn to £3.1bn.

It's understood former Economy Minister Simon Hamilton gave the green light to the organisation's business strategy before stepping down from his post ahead of the Assembly election.

But the plan is subject to an Executive budget, and if a new Economy Minister would want to tweak the plan.

Alastair Hamilton, chief executive of Invest NI said: “Our role is to provide support to businesses to help them grow, stimulating investment in our economy.

“During 2016/17 our offers of support totalled £152m, contributing to almost £660m of investment in the Northern Ireland economy.

"This support has helped businesses promote nearly 5,600 new jobs against a target range of 4,000-6,000. I am also pleased to report that our support in previous years has helped create 5,900 jobs this year across a broad range of sectors including agri-food, digital and creative technologies and advanced engineering and manufacturing.

“We also significantly exceeded our R&D investment target, delivering £203m of investment against a target of £100-£170m, due to a number of large R&D projects. We also saw a notable increase in investment by locally owned companies – £109m, a 93% increase on the previous highest year."

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