We stand at a pivotal moment as we emerge from a major health and economic crisis following the Covid-19 pandemic.
That was the key message from Economy Minister Gordon Lyons as he addressed the Northern Ireland Economic Conference at Galgorm Resort and Spa in Ballymena today.
The Minister continued: “It is also an opportunity for us to refocus and rebuild a healthy economy that can provide opportunity for every person, in every community across Northern Ireland.
“I am pleased that through my Department’s Economic Recovery Action Plan we have successfully sown the seeds of recovery and embedded the footholds of future economic growth within that framework.
“The Spend Local Scheme has injected £118million into our local towns and cities to date. This scheme was the first of its kind in Northern Ireland and illustrates the benefits that can be realised, by taking bold new approaches to economic policy.”
Minister Lyons also spoke of other significant challenges for Northern Ireland including the new trading arrangements with Great Britain under the protocol and the climate emergency, which he described as the “challenge of our lifetime”.
He said: “The circumstances we face require bold and ambitious action. We can no longer use methods that don’t deliver.
“That is why my Department published its Vision for a 10X Economy earlier this year. The 10X Economy represents the first step in our pathway towards creating generational change and meeting our goal for Northern Ireland, in 2030, to be ten times more innovative, inclusive and sustainable.
“Northern Ireland has a rich culture of innovation and we have demonstrated time and again that we are capable of turning ideas into reality. Be it cutting-edge maritime design, advances in hydrogen fuel technology or the development of innovative medical devices.
“I am confident that Northern Ireland can play its part in addressing climate change and at the same time benefit from the growth of the green economy.
“I am proud to be Minister for the Economy at such an exciting time for our future economy. Our companies are innovative, they are globally competitive, have strong ambition, brilliant people working within them and have proven to be resilient and adaptive during the pandemic.”
The NI Economic Conference was organised by agendaNI.