Diane Dodds has been criticised for a "lack of detail and vision" after it emerged that her department needs an extra £290m to fulfil commitments in its Economic Recovery Action Plan this year.
This figure represents around a third of the Department for the Economy's (DfE) baseline budget for the year, which is £804.5m.
DfE's recovery blueprint lays out how Northern Ireland's economy can recover from the pandemic, proposing to develop a flexible skills fund, widen access to apprenticeships by removing the age cap, and develop proposals to set up an artificial intelligence centre of excellence.
It is also set to deliver the High Street Stimulus Scheme, a Tourism Voucher Scheme, accelerate delivery of City and Growth Deals and develop a green innovation challenge fund.
Now it has come to light that hundreds of millions in additional funding will be required to deliver the actions contained in the plan.
This comes amid a £15m shortfall in funding to maintain the department's core existing services. In an answer to a recent Assembly question tabled by Green Party MLA Rachel Woods, Economy Minister Mrs Dodds said that, since the early stages of the Covid pandemic, her department has been in close contact with stakeholders "in order to gather information on the impacts of both Covid-19 and EU Exit on the Northern Ireland Economy and have used their input to develop my Economic Recovery Action Plan".
"As you will be aware my Action Plan was published on February 25, 2021. This, however, is not the end of the conversation. The Covid-19 pandemic is a unique and dynamic situation and as such my department will continue to engage with stakeholders on the actions required throughout the recovery process.
"The Action Plan has been fully costed and its successful delivery will require an additional £290m in 2021-22."
Ms Woods said she is concerned about a lack of funding for the strategy, and also a "lack of detail and vision from Minister Dodds". "There is a unique opportunity for us to build back better from the pandemic through a Green Recovery," she added. "I'm concerned that Minister Dodds' strategy represents a business-as-usual approach without the required new thinking to address the challenges we face."
Alliance economy spokesman Stewart Dickson said: "Unfortunately, the Economy Minister has chosen to produce a plan limited to her own department. Although there are some welcome ideas, these are all predicated on funding that is not yet agreed and are effectively disconnected from any other actions being taken by her Executive colleagues.
"I would call on the Economy Minister to work with her Executive colleagues to produce a comprehensive economic recovery plan the whole Executive can work towards."
John Stewart, UUP economy spokesperson, said: "A recovery plan out of the worst economic crisis in history needs to be fully funded, flexible and committed to by successive mandates. The Executive can't be half-hearted in this. This is an unprecedented crisis and we need to respond with unprecedented measures."
The DfE said: "It is anticipated that funding for the Economic Recovery Action Plan will be confirmed as part of the final budget."