The deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness today addressed the “Showcasing the Recovery” business breakfast at the Kennedy Centre, Belfast.
At the event, attended by local business people, the deputy First Minister spoke on signs of improvement in the economy, Corporation Tax, access to finance, red tape and foreign direct investment.
Martin McGuinness said: “The Executive has put the development of the economy at the heart of its Programme for Government. Green shoots indicating an improving situation in our economy continue. We have witnessed an improving employment trend, improved consumer confidence and exports to the south of Ireland and Britain have increased.
“We have many small businesses displaying the determination and ambition which will drive the economy as part of our recovery. The Executive is listening to the business community and is doing all it can to remove the barriers they face, improving the business environment and make it easier to fulfil their potential.
“Securing the powers to lower Corporation Tax remains a key priority for promoting economic growth. We will continue to press the case for devolution of corporation tax and the London Government is expected to make its decision following the Scottish referendum this year.
“For local businesses access to finance remains a significant issue. Having a local banking sector meeting the needs of both consumers and businesses, and providing bank lending on a competitive basis to local Small and Medium Sized Enterprises, is vital to our economic recovery. I will continue to encourage the local banks to support businesses to develop and grow in this important recovery phase. We must also reduce the regulatory burden which in turn gives more time for businesses to identify new markets, grow their businesses and create employment opportunities. The Executive is committed to reviewing business red tape and reducing it for all businesses.”
The deputy First Minister said: “Small and medium businesses are the backbone of the economy, generating ideas, creating employment and driving enterprise. We will continue to make every effort so new businesses can set up and existing businesses can grow. The Executive remains committed to working towards a better economic future for all, and to ensure local businesses are given the support they need to seize opportunities to prosper, and deliver for our community, creating jobs and improving lives.”