The National Competitiveness Council (NCC) monitors business cost and competitiveness issues facing the Irish economy and offers recommendations on policy actions required to enhance Ireland's position in these areas. The NCC does not rank the top 5 barriers, it uses 127 indicators to benchmark competitiveness across a wide range of issues, including:
While the NCC does not rank the challenges in order of priority, in its "Ireland's Competitiveness Scorecard 2011" report, published in July, the Council listed the 6 priority challenges to be addressed as:
Productivity and Innovation
Access to Credit
Labour Market Activation
In their most recent publication, "Ireland's Competitiveness Challenge 2011", they have added Reducing the Cost of Doing Business, public sector reform and corporate governance.
Clearly the steps needed to meet these challenges require a whole of Government approach. Through actions already taken in the Jobs Initiative and the recent Budget, we have taken steps to address many of the issues. The NCC has acknowledged that a series of measures have already been taken to remove structural barriers to growth, on reducing costs, up-skilling and re-skilling, investing in infrastructure, reducing the budget deficit, improving access to finance for enterprise and public sector reform.
Minister Bruton is currently working with Government colleagues to finalise the "Action Plan for Jobs", which will include a number of actions across these priority areas designed to bring about further improvements in Ireland's competitiveness. Final proposals are still under consideration by Government.