Belfast Telegraph

Poll puts us 42nd in the world for competitive business

By Claire Weir

Northern Ireland is the 42nd most competitive place to do business in the world out of 145 countries, a report has shown.

Wrightbus managing director and current chair of the Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce revealed the placing at a speech given to the chamber's annual lunch at Belfast City Hall.

More than 400 businesspeople from across Northern Ireland were also addressed by Employment Minister Dr Stephen Farry and former Formula 1 driver and entrepreneur Eddie Irvine.

The recent World Economic Forum Competitiveness Index put Switzerland in first place with Burundi trailing in 145th place.

Singapore was in second place, the UK eighth, Hong Kong ninth and Republic of Ireland 27th.

"Northern Ireland, and bear in mind this is an artificial comparison since we are a province not a country, was 42nd out of 145," said Mr Nodder. "Actually, not such a poor result when you consider our small market size and the exaggerated effects of the economic downturn. There were five factors which stood out above the rest as most problematic for doing business in Northern Ireland.

"They were access to finance, inefficient Government bureaucracy, tax rates, restrictive labour regulations; and in fifth place, to a lesser extent it must be said, an inadequately educated workforce."

Mr Nodder said that Wrightbus and the Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce had been campaigning for the devolution of power to reduce the rate of corporation tax in Northern Ireland.

"We are still committed to that objective, however, the natives north of Hadrian's Wall have become restless, and a decision about corporation tax, as well as a timetable for implementation, waits on the other side of the referendum for Scottish independence," he said.

Mr Nodder said the chamber is engaging in a campaign entitled "Growing Something Brilliant" aimed at inspiring businesses to grow through innovation and export.

Belfast Telegraph