The stimulus package announced in July 2012 included investment of €1.4 billion in a new public private partnership, PPP, programme. This investment is additional to the direct investment by the Exchequer in infrastructure which was outlined in the medium-term Exchequer framework published in November 2011. Earlier this month, and as a follow on to last year’s package, I announced an additional Exchequer investment of €150 million to fund school building projects, local and regional road maintenance and retrofitting of local authority housing.
Investment in projects included in both announcements is expected to support significant numbers of jobs across the country. Previous analysis of each sector indicates that the investment in the PPP pipeline may support in the region of 13,000 direct jobs and many more indirect jobs. It is envisaged that the additional Exchequer funding of €150 million, which I announced last week, can support in the region of 3,000 jobs over the period of the roll-out of both projects. These initiatives will of course also create much needed social and economic infrastructure and aid economic recovery. The Exchequer projects, in particular, involve mostly smaller scale capital works which are known to be labour intensive.
I am anxious that projects associated with both packages can be rolled out as quickly as possible so that we can create the extra jobs on the ground without delay. In relation to the PPP projects, it is well recognised internationally that these 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.
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 and in line with procurement regulations. With the NDFA, we are also examining ways to encourage SME participation by facilitating access to the programme. The NDFA is working with Enterprise Ireland to organise awareness-raising events for SMEs, one of which was held last week.
Additional information not given on the floor of the House
The projects identified for delivery through the additional €150 million Exchequer funding will begin to be rolled out over the summer. While this additional funding was only recently announced, I expect that it will have an immediate impact as most of the preparation work for the relevant projects is already well advanced. The capital plan has, by necessity, been reduced in recent years to contribute to fiscal consolidation. However, it is important to note that since the publication of, Infrastructure and Capital Investment 2012-2016: Medium Term Exchequer Framework, in November 2011 no further cuts have been made to the capital programme. That publication was the result of a major review of capital expenditure. It prioritised investment in infrastructure which would be most beneficial to supporting economic growth, thereby supporting sustainable employment growth in the medium term, meet urgent social needs and maintain our existing stock of infrastructure. It also took account of the fact that €70 billion had been invested in the previous decade.
The State will spend some €17 billion over the period of the framework on capital projects throughout the country and this will help support employment in many key areas. Much of this investment will be in smaller scale locally based projects and, as I have already mentioned, this kind of less expensive re-fit, refurbishment, and upgrade works can be more labour-intensive than larger capital-intensive projects.
At the time of publication of the report I noted that, should a funding source become available, there was much more that I wanted to deliver through investment in infrastructure. The deal I negotiated with the troika with regard to the proceeds from the sale of State assets and the recovery of the PPP market are allowing us to progress additional projects which we could not include in the five-year framework. All of these measures which I have taken represent a significant commitment to continue to invest in infrastructure, create jobs and improve quality.