A major report will this week raise fundamental questions on the record of Northern Ireland's super quango - after seven years of operations and a total outlay of around £1 billion.
The official review is expected to cast doubts on the overall economic improvements achieved from expenditure by Invest NI, not least in terms of employment numbers, productivity and the types of jobs promoted.
The study by an expert panel with international experience is scheduled to be published tomorrow.
Tasked with providing a constructive critique of Invest NI — the Government's economic development agency — it is not expected to paint a particularly favourable picture of its record to date.
One leading area of interest will be the extent to which its multi-million pound grant aid packages have boosted employment numbers and productivity across assisted companies.
The panel is believed to have found little or no evidence of significant improvement on such fronts.
The case for the defence for Invest NI includes highlighting other criteria such as sales and export growth in assisted businesses.
This week’s report is also likely to address the question of whether too much of Invest NI's work has involved the creation of low-paid jobs, rather than the promotion of skilled posts with higher rates of pay.
Another keenly awaited section of the review panel's work will examine the current split of economic responsibilities at Stormont — between the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment (DETI) and the Department for Employment and Learning (DEL).
The report is understood to boost those who take the view that the present set-up has not been working in the best interests of the province's economy.
The review was announced by DETI minister Arlene Foster last December, with a remit covering the economic development policy of her department and Invest NI.
Its five-strong panel is chaired by Professor Richard Barnett, vice chancellor of the University of Ulster.
A spokesman for Invest NI said it would not be commenting ahead of the report's publication on Tuesday.
Invest NI was established in 2002 and is an agency of DETI. It has spent in the region of £150m a year on average, the bulk of this going on financial packages for businesses.
Its role includes supporting homegrown companies and seeking to attract overseas investors to the province.
The quango emphasises on its website that its activities “have made a direct contribution to growing the economy of Northern Ireland”.
It also states that its client companies “invested over £1.5 million a day” on average in the period 2002-2008 and that 53% of its assistance went to locally-owned businesses. This week's review report comes with the heavily-subsidised Northern Ireland economy suffering the effects of the global downturn, and with a severe squeeze on public funding looming.
Invest NI had the apparent advantage in its early period of an era of buoyancy and confidence in the UK and Irish economies.
If its Stormont masters decide it has not sufficiently fulfilled its brief in these relative good times, questions will inevitably be asked about how it will be able to meet the current, much more challenging business environment.
Invest NI reviewed its own record in a performance information report published earlier this year.
It stated that among a portfolio of “significantly assisted clients”, there had been “only a marginal change” in overall employment levels over five years — rising by 0.4% to reach 86,650 by 2006/07.
Within this overall total, there had been 28,873 job gains among the companies in question and 28,545 job losses.
Employment in manufacturing fell by 9.8% while service sector companies grew by 34.5%. A major contribution to this rise came from the expansion of call centre-type operations.