Although our economy may not be in perfect shape, it is always important from the outset to bear in mind that significant progress has been made in the last few years.
Our inward investment record has been really impressive, we have legislated for devolved corporation tax and in the labour market we have seen the number of unemployment claimants fall for 27 consecutive months.
However, challenges still remain in terms of creating high levels of sustainable economic growth and raising local living standards.
Unfortunately, there is no single economic policy that will act as a silver bullet for Northern Ireland. Rather we need a sustained improvement in a number of economic levers that could ultimately weave together to raise productivity, economic growth, wages and living standards.
In any post-election talks with a new UK government, Northern Ireland policy makers could legitimately call for enhanced levels of assistance if such assistance was entirely focused on supporting our journey to economic self-sufficiency and raised living standards for all.
Post-election discussions, in my view, could target the following issues:
In real terms, the two local universities have suffered a 28% reduction in funding over the last four years. If Queen's University Belfast and Ulster University were located in England they would have an additional £45m per year to spend on students and services.
For Northern Ireland to have a fighting chance of being economically successful we need to devote far greater resources into higher education. If we do, we will reap the rewards in the longer term.
Yet infrastructure and connectivity are key drivers of economic growth. Northern Ireland's current Transport Strategy focuses on improving connectivity "within the region". However, this approach is far too insular and therefore developing national and international connections must also prioritised. EU and matched funding will be needed to build better connections to both Scotland and to the Republic of Ireland. Infrastructure spend on connectivity for this region is as a long-term investment that will benefit everyone's economic prosperity.
Having long-term fiscal plans would make it much easier for our policy makers to negotiate with Treasury around public expenditure plans. This region suffers from a dearth of independent fiscal advice and forecasting of the type that independent fiscal councils produce in most advanced economies across the globe.
Politicians could negotiate for a share of the resources and analysis carried out by the national Office of Budgetary Responsibility to be Northern Ireland-specific.
Clarity could then be brought to bear on some of our larger fiscal options such as devolved corporation tax and how will we pay for it. Independent advice is also needed to help us to make some of those less palatable decisions around raising local revenue streams.
Pubs of Ulster have been leading a campaign to reduce Vat rates for businesses in the tourism sector in Northern Ireland. Indeed Vat reductions for the tourism sector have been introduced in the majority of European Union countries to promote tourism, and to protect and nurture jobs. This is now a UK-wide campaign and if successfully negotiated should have no impact on the Northern Ireland block grant.
For the sake of our future stability, our leaders must put some progressive and inclusive policies on to the negotiating table.
Economic policies that will benefit everyone are needed if local leaders are to receive willing support from our partners in the governing administrations across the UK, in the Republic of Ireland and in Europe.
Angela McGowan is chief economist at Danske Bank