The Government announced the establishment of the New Economy and Recovery Authority (NewERA), in line with the Programme for Government on 29 September last.
NewERA is being initially established on a non-statutory basis as a Shareholder Executive within the NTMA. NewERA will carry out the corporate governance function, from a shareholder perspective, of ESB, Bord Gáis, EirGrid, Bord na Móna and Coillte, reporting to the relevant Ministers. Its operation will be overseen by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Infrastructure. In this capacity, NewERA will have responsibility for reviewing capital investment plans of these commercial semi state companies from a shareholder perspective and will identify possible synergies between investment programmes of different State companies.
The establishment of NewERA and the Strategic Investment Fund under the NTMA are important elements in the Government's strategy to create jobs and promote economic growth.
Where requested by Government, it will also advise on, and if appropriate oversee, any restructuring of State companies and it will work with the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform on the disposal of State assets.
NewERA will initially be established on a non-statutory basis as a Shareholder Executive within the NTMA. It will bring forward proposals for consideration by Government on options for moving towards a full holding company status which could own the shares in commercial semi-states.
NewERA will have the following functions:
corporate governance from a shareholder perspective of the following Commercial Semi-State (CSS) companies: ESB, Bord Gáis, EirGrid, Bord na Móna, Coillte;
working with Departments to develop and implement proposals for investment in line with NewERA Programme for Government commitments in Energy, Water and Next Generation Telecommunications;
working with the National Pension Reserve Fund (NPRF) to bring forward proposals for investment of available resources in the NewERA initiative;
developing a Strategic Investment Fund, drawing on NPRF resources, with the medium-term goal of establishing a Strategic Investment Bank;
reviewing capital investment plans of these CSS companies from a shareholder perspective;
identifying possible synergies between investment programmes of different CSS companies;
where requested by Government, advising on, and if appropriate overseeing any restructuring of CSS company assets, and supporting the work of the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform who has responsibility for the disposal of State assets;
based on progress with the initial phase of its work, considering a model(s) for a holding company structure which could own the shares in CSS companies.
The Government has made clear its intention to ensure that State Companies play a full role in Ireland's economic recovery. The Energy State Companies are already engaged in significant programmes of infrastructure investment. We must ensure that all the investment programmes of the State Companies are cost effective, strategic and subject to rigorous shareholder scrutiny. NewERA will have a key role to play in this regard on behalf of the Government's shareholder interests in the State Companies, where appropriate regulatory oversight will also continue to be a fundamental requirement.
NewERA will work to develop and implement proposals for commercial investment in line with Programme for Government commitments in Energy, Water and Broadband.
NewERA will also work with the National Pensions Reserve Fund (NPRF) to bring forward proposals for investment of available resources, each such investment to be on a commercial basis. In this context, the Programme for Government commits to investment of €2bn from the sale of non-strategic assets to fund NewERA investment.
Now that the Authority has been formally established, I am confident that progress can be made on necessary investment under the aegis of New ERA with consequential positive direct and indirect jobs impact.