MPANI welcomes restoration of NI Assembly and Executive but warns of difficult decisions ahead
WHILST welcoming the progress that has been made in respect of the post-Brexit trading arrangements between Great Britain and Northern Ireland, which has seen the much-needed restoration of the NI Assembly and Executive, the Mineral Products Association Northern Ireland (MPANI) says the challenges ahead are going to require difficult decisions.
Gordon Best, regional director of MPANI, which represents approximately 95% of the mineral products and construction material supply to the NI economy, said: ‘The restoration of the Executive and Assembly will be welcomed by all in the wider Northern Ireland construction and business community, but the reality is that given two years without local decision-making, our public services, our local infrastructure, and confidence in the political system here are almost beyond repair.
‘What we require now are urgent decisions, some difficult and unpopular, to fundamentally reform many of our key economic enablers which have been subject to years of drift and delay. We can achieve our goals and overcome these significant challenges if our Executive works collaboratively with NI business and our community sector to catch up and repair two years of lost opportunity costs and take advantage of the unique trading position that we now enjoy with access to both EU and UK markets.
‘We need a more sustainable mechanism to fund NI public services and infrastructure asset management, a review of planning, and an urgent effort to get NI on its path to net zero. During the Assembly collapse MPANI has kept communications open with our political parties and we look forward to engaging further, highlighting our priorities for NI Government.
‘Mineral products will continue to be essential as we build back better and chart our course to decarbonization and net zero by 2050. To maximize the competitiveness of our sector and the wider economy, the NI Government and political leaders must prioritize the best access possible to local, national, all island, and global markets and skills.’