Belfast Telegraph

Search launched for manager of £100m government fund

By Margaret Canning

The search for a manager of the £100m Northern Ireland Investment Fund has begun. The fund was set up to encourage investment in private sector-led development, infrastructure and low carbon projects to deliver economic growth.

Now the Department of Finance (DoF) is tendering for a "financial intermediary" for the fund.

A manager is set to be in place by the autumn, with the first investment to follow within a year.

And it's expected to work with Belfast City Council on the latter's initiative to support Grade A office development.

John Armstrong, managing director of the Construction Employers Federation, said the announcement was "hugely significant". He commented: "Industry has long called for the widening and deepening of the Northern Ireland public purse in respect of infrastructure investment.

"The approach outlined by way of the investment fund mirrors that taken in other jurisdictions where it has been met with great success.

"In the midst of current uncertainty around the Northern Ireland Executive's budget, it is vital that government presses on with enhancing Northern Ireland's competitiveness and attractiveness as a region to do business and invest in.

"The fund rightly seeks to leverage in private sector funding to address many of our strategic economic and infrastructure challenges as a region, notably Grade A office space, and it is vital that certainty is now provided by sticking to the time-lines laid out in the procurement."

Councillor Aileen Graham, chairperson of Belfast City Council's Growth and Regeneration Committee, said it believes it could attract "around £1bn of real estate investment into Belfast through the development of new offices, hotels and leisure, residential and retail developments".

She added: "Belfast City Council will be doing everything we can to help Belfast realise this target, including launching a new fund to support Grade A office development in the city within the next number of weeks.

"We see DoF's £100m investment initiative very much as complementary to this."

Belfast Telegraph