Thursday, 4 July 2019

Questions (167)

Robert Troy

Question:

167. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation if she met the Minister for Finance and his officials to discuss the National Competitiveness Council report Cost of Doing Business in Ireland 2019 since it was published; if so, the actions agreed arising from the meeting that will be taken to tackle the competitiveness deficiencies and increased cost of doing business across several sectors and metrics in the report; if she had meetings with the Irish Fiscal Advisory Council in this regard in relation to issues identified in the report. [28997/19]

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Written answers (Question to Business)

Ireland is a competitive economy, as reflected in a range of economic metrics, such as: high economic growth; the strong performance of the labour market across sectors and regions; strong trade figures; and, our overall strong productivity levels.

The National Competitiveness Council (NCC) plays an important institutional role ensuring that the Government has an independent voice raising important competitiveness and productivity issues.

Under the Council’s Terms of Reference, it is required to prepare two annual reports:

- An annual report benchmarking the competitiveness of Ireland’s business sector against international peer countries; and,

- An annual report outlining the main competitiveness challenges facing the business sector in Ireland over the medium term, and the policy responses required to meet them.

Alongside these reports, they also produce a Cost of Doing Business report, a Productivity Statement, and a series of shorter competitiveness bulletins.

As the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, I am responsible for presenting the findings of the NCC’s competitiveness documents (the Cost of Doing Business Report, the Competitiveness Scorecard, and the Competitiveness Challenge) to the Taoiseach and the Government.

In the Cost of Doing Business report, the NCC does not recommend actions to the Government. Instead, the NCC uses this report (and the other reports that it publishes throughout the year) as an evidence base to make recommendations for Government action in the NCC’s final publication of the year, the Competitiveness Challenge.

The Department of Finance is represented in an advisory capacity on the NCC and both my officials and I regularly discuss competitiveness issues with the Minister for Finance and his officials including through the Cabinet Committee structure.

As a small open economy, we must never underestimate the importance of maintaining competitiveness, and ensuring that the cost of doing business does not impede this. In this regard, Future Jobs Ireland is an integral component of the Government’s over-arching plan for the future of the Irish economy. Given the central role that the NCC plays in informing competitiveness and productivity policy, in Future Jobs 2019, this Government has committed to responding to the NCC’s annual priority recommendations to enhance Ireland’s productivity and competitiveness performance.