- “Restoring the Irish economy to sustainable economic growth is essential both for reducing unemployment, restoring fiscal balance and for reducing the debt overhang to manageable proportions. Enhancing our international competitiveness is a necessary part of our recovery strategy. By competitiveness we mean the ability of businesses in Ireland to achieve success and increased share in international markets – leading to improved standards of living for all our citizens.”
So says the most recent report from the National Competitiveness Council (NCC).
- It points out that towards the end of the 90’s and until 2003 we were one of the most competitive economies in the world. Ireland failed to retain that desirable position in the years following 2003.
- Some gains are currently being achieved, costs have fallen, skills availability and physical infrastructure have improved.
- But, the NCC point out, that some of the competitiveness gains to date have arisen as a consequence of the economic downturn. They say that structural policy decisions must now be taken that will deliver more long-lasting durable competitiveness gains.
- The report cites tourism as a sector which should be addressed vigorously for its undoubted potential to recover and prosper.
- The NCC report also points out that, “high costs and structural inefficiencies across all the so called sheltered or locally traded sectors in our economy including legal services, medicine, energy, and the public service, all damage cost competitiveness. Hence there is an urgent need for a sustained programme to ensure vigorous competition in locally traded sectors of the economy. The NCC is concerned that there is not a strong appetite in Ireland to tackle high costs in sheltered sectors. A rigorous process to remove barriers to competition is essential.”
- This is another excellent and concise analysis of the competitive issues which need priority attention. It is well worth a read.
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