Now that the Government has been formed and Ministers appointed, attention is turning to the July Stimulus plan, which the Programme for Government promised would be a “series of immediate actions to support the economy to return to capacity”.
Supporting our economy was the main focus of my conversation with Gabriel Makhlouf, Governor of the Central Bank of Ireland at Ibec's Dublin office on Monday morning. It was an insightful discussion on economic recovery, both foreign and domestic and is available to watch here. Congratulations to Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe on becoming the next President of the Eurogroup of Finance Ministers. A great achievement and it’s worth noting that two Irish citizens are now in pivotal Euro Area posts with Professor Philip Lane being the European Central Bank Chief Economist.
Ibec continued strong political engagement this week, engaging at a senior level with recently appointed Ministers like Simon Harris who is heading up the newly minted Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science. Minister Harris is enthusiastic about his new brief and looks forward to working closely with Ibec to ensure that Irish graduates and crucially, people already in the workforce, are equipped with the skills and knowledge they need to adapt to the changing world of work.
Continuing our work to highlight the critical role that SMEs play in Ireland’s economy, on Thursday morning Ibec held a virtual briefing for members of the Oireachtas and Ireland’s representatives to the European Parliament outlining the key messages from our Sustaining SMEs campaign and sharing insights into international best practice.
The topics discussed were echoed this afternoon at the first meeting of the SME and State Bodies Group hosted by the Tánaiste and Minister of Business Enterprise and Innovation Leo Varadkar and Minister of Finance Paschal Donohoe on the topic of the Financing Needs of SMEs. There was wide acknowledgment by the Government of the vital part SMEs will play in Ireland’s economic recovery and the urgent need for measures to be taken to promote and protect them in the July Stimulus plan which will be announced later in the month.
I was interviewed on the RTE Six One News about the UK’s stimulus plan announced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak on Wednesday that included a VAT reduction for hospitality. I called on the Government to ensure that the July Stimulus plan ensures that liquidity and business supports reach the struggling businesses much quicker and more effectively than has been the case to date. (You can watch the interview here from the 24:50 mark.)
It is among a number of recommendations that Ibec has included in a detailed submission on the July Stimulus plan which was submitted to Government Ministers and Ministers of State earlier this week. I attach a copy of the submission for your reference.