CBI Northern Ireland welcomes commitment to infrastructure

Nigel Smyth CBI Northern IrelandsmCommenting on an article by the Finance Minister in this morning’s media on infrastructure delivery, CBI Northern Ireland Director Nigel Smyth said: “When we published ‘Infrastructure – investing for our future’ in October of last year, the business community made clear its concern with many of the key facets of infrastructure procurement and delivery in Northern Ireland.

“From delays in delivery, to over-specification of projects, to budget overruns, to the lack of an appropriate pipeline that the industry can have full confidence in, there was a clear call for urgent reform.

“Today’s article by the Finance Minister is therefore extremely welcome given that it commits to deal with many of the problems that industry has consistently outlined. Greater centralisation of procurement and delivery matches up to successful systems elsewhere while there is a commitment to tackle the visibility of forthcoming projects through a proper regional infrastructure plan.

“These changes, accompanied by the proposal that the Northern Ireland Executive mandates strategically significant projects and that there will be a development programme for key staff, go a long way to matching many of the key recommendations in our October 2013 report. Implementing these changes will provide much needed confidence to the construction industry.

The CBI Director concluded “It is now critical that the Northern Ireland Executive gets on board with the changes the Finance Minister has laid out – and that it does so urgently. It is just as critical that timelines are developed towards seeing the actions delivered, and that these are regularly reported on and communicated to industry to help build confidence.

“The proof will very much be in the delivery of these actions and we urge all Executive Ministers to embrace the change laid out without hesitation given its undoubtedly positive impact for all in our society. We look forward to working with the Executive to ensure the changes recommended are delivered.”

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