asked the Minister for Finance the functions of the National Enterprise Agency, its terms of reference; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
Written Answers. - National Enterprise Agency.
The National Understanding for Economic and Social Development sets out the functions of the National Enterprise Agency as follows:
(i) to establish organisational responsibility for the commercial exploitation of new development opportunities by the State, where such opportunities are not being exploited by the private sector;
(ii) to provide a mechanism to ensure that commercially-oriented research and development is effectively applied in the economy.
It is also envisaged that the agency will engage directly in manufacturing, service and trading activities either by itself or in partnership with other organisations in the public or private sector, that it will be operated on a commercial basis and that there will be appropriate representation of employer and trade union interests on its Board of Directors.
Following on this commitment discussions with representatives of the social partners took place in order to identify how the agency should best be established and operated.
On 16 May 1980, the Government announced the following arrangements for the establishment of the agency:
Initially it is intended that the Agency will be set up on an interim basis as a limited liability company under a memorandum and articles of association.
The purpose of the Agency will be to identify new commercial investment opportunities which can contribute to the provision of productive employment. In seeking such opportunities the application of strict commercial criteria and the prospect of adequate returns will be regarded as of paramount importance.
Projects established by the Agency will have access to the full range of State incentives and advisory services on the same terms and conditions as apply to business generally.
It is intended that the Agency will be largely financed from normal commercial lending sources.
The Agency will carry ultimate responsibility for individual investment decisions and it is envisaged that it will direct its efforts initially at any rate towards highly specialised projects.
The number of directors will be up to nine with appropriate representation of employer, industry and trade union interests.
The Government are at present taking the necessary steps to have the agency established.