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Public and private sectors must join forces to save economy, says Wilson

Finance minister Sammy Wilson has said that more collaboration between public and private sectors is needed to cope with the challenges presented by the current financial climate.

Mr Wilson was addressing a conference on 'Effective Change Leadership' organised by the Association for Project Management (APM) and the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants Ireland (CIMA Ireland).

Mr Wilson said that while there are economic challenges the Executive can do nothing about, worldwide pressures still have an impact locally.

"When we get a budget, we have to look at what we can do and how we can do it.

"We have to look at the way we are delivering services and how we can do things better and that does require feedback from the professionals to the ministers.

"Sometimes I feel like the civil service are too conservative, they don't really like change, change means risk, and often ministers can be just as bad, but politicians and civil servants do need good information in order to effect change."

Speaking about a meeting in London on Tuesday when 60 Northern Ireland business leaders converged on Westminster to discuss a lower rate of corporation tax, Mr Wilson said that private sector companies are being encouraged to embrace change.

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"At the event on Tuesday I was speaking to the managing director of a construction company who is now successfully competing and winning major projects in the UK and beyond.

"He said that one of the huge selling points we have is that firms in Northern Ireland have got the reputation that we can see a project through and a lot of benefits flow on from that."