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Investing 'must be a priority for the next Executive'

By John Mulgrew

The next Stormont Executive must invest in digital technology and infrastructure to help boost business and connectivity, according to a new report. The Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) called on politicians from across the divide to drive the "uptake of digital technology and data in infrastructure design and delivery".

It also said greater emphasis should be placed on "up-skilling and re-skilling mid-career professionals", as well as creating initiatives for younger people.

The report will be formally launched at the Google Hive at PwC in Belfast this morning.

ICE regional director Richard Kirk said that "to promote economic growth, we must boost productivity through the better use of digital technology, skills and data in local infrastructure, enabling Northern Ireland to play its part in maintaining the UK's place on the world stage".

"We must also recognise the security risks associated with increasing interdependencies and data availability and manage these better at the local level," Mr Kirk added.

"Belfast City Council has shown great leadership by improving its smart city approach.

"However, the Executive must follow suit in prioritising digital transformation across Northern Ireland in order for us to keep pace.

"We need to use technology to make the most of our existing infrastructure and to deliver the new, resilient infrastructure that will improve people's quality of life."

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