On the 17th of July 2012, the Government announced its plans for an additional 2.25 billion euro investment in public infrastructure projects in Ireland. The most important contribution capital investment can now make is in providing the capacity for the economy to grow, which will in turn create employment.
As the Deputy will recall, the stimulus package included 1.4 billion euro to fund the proposed new Public Private Partnerships (PPP) programme and the delivery of this is the initial focus for my Department. This 1.4 billion euro investment is additional to the direct investment by the exchequer in infrastructure which will be some 3.4 billion euro in 2013.
Job creation is a critical priority for Government. Investment in the projects included in the Stimulus package is expected to generate significant numbers of jobs spread out across the country. Previous analysis of each sector indicates that the investment in the PPP Pipeline may generate around 13,000 direct jobs and many more indirect jobs. It will also create much needed social and economic infrastructure and aid economic recovery. I have asked my Department to update this analysis to verify these figures and help to target our scarce resources to best effect.
I am anxious that this new Programme be rolled out as quickly as possible so that we can create the extra jobs on the ground without delay. The PPP projects are large value investments and by their nature are complex and take time to develop and deliver both for the public and the private sector. From the public sector side, my Department is working closely with the National Development Finance Agency (NDFA) and Sponsoring Departments to progress projects and to accelerate delivery of the programme. On the basis of this work, NDFA expect to issues tenders for the schools bundles by end May, at the latest. The tender for the Primary Care Centres Bundle is expected to be issued in August followed by the Grangegorman tender in September. Tenders for the two new PPP roads projects are also due to issue by the summer.
The preparatory work for the projects is well underway in the various Departments and Agencies. At this early stage in the process most of the employment impact to date has been in the technical and advisory areas.
It is too early to provide exact numbers of jobs created so far, although some projects such as the new DIT Grangegorman project have already seen significant employment impact where a team of 40 architects, engineers, quantity surveyors and other specialists are already in place. Similarly in relation to the schools and primary care centres, a number of technical advisors and design teams are in place.
The NDFA have established a model to track employment creation on Schools Bundle 3 PPP project which commenced last November. To date, it shows that 321 jobs have been created by this project, 274 direct jobs and 47 indirect jobs. This model will be updated regularly and will be used to track job creation for Stimulus Package Phase 1 projects.
Further employment benefits will be evident as the projects progress through the tendering phase and construction gets underway. The indicative timetable for the projects suggest construction is expected to commence on the first roads project in Q3 2013 and on the accommodation projects by Q4 2014.
My Department together with the NDFA and the Sponsoring Authorities are also looking at how to maximise job creation as part of each tender competition that is in line with procurement regulations. With the NDFA, we are also examining ways to encourage SME participation by facilitating access to the programme and the NDFA is working with Enterprise Ireland to organise awareness raising events for SMEs.