Action Plan For Jobs 2012 by Annette J Dunlea
Published In The Carrigdhoun Newspaper 25th Feb 2012 p.9
A recent report by the Irish government says that it’s top priority of the Government is to get Ireland back to work. Through it they will target different sectors with new policy supports and change for the better the way Government interacts with businesses by cutting costs and red tape.It further states that by supporting growth industries, and by building on recent successes, they will attract new foreign investment and increase our exports even further. They will help more Irish businesses to make it into the global market place and to create more jobs at home.Jobs will be central to economic recovery. There is no easy or quick path to full employment.They must rebuild our economy piece by piece and restore confidence and stability if they are to attract new jobs. This Action Plan outlines their intentions for the year ahead.
Here is a summary of the report.Becoming the best small country in the world in which to do business will require a deep transformation of Government and of all sectors of our society. The Action Plan for Jobs will seek to build on the work already begun across Government to rebuild our economy. It is about protecting existing jobs, as well as creating new ones.The restructuring of the banking system by Minister Noonan provides the basis for a core banking service that can deliver on the needs of start up or growing businesses.Ministers Burton and Quinn are delivering on a fundamental transformation of the employment support services that the State provides so that supports and training are working more closely together to help assist people back in to the workforce, it states. In other areas such as the establishment of NewERA and the Strategic Investment Fund, the Government is developing innovative ways to leverage the assets we own to drive long term investment in key infrastructure.The reorientation of the tax system, recognising that taxing work is not the way to revive the economy, is absolutely key.
This Plan is for 2012; subsequent Action Plans will be prepared for 2013, 2014 and so on, until their goals are realised.In total there are over 270 distinct actions identified to be delivered in 2012 across all Departments of Government and more than 36 agencies of the State. Each action has an identified lead Department or Agency that is responsible for its delivery. Milestones and timeframes for the delivery of each action are detailed in an Annex to the Action Plan which is published separately.At the same meeting of Cabinet that approved the annual Action Plan for Jobs process it was agreed that a Monitoring Group comprising of the Department of the Taoiseach, the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform and Forfás would be formed to meet regularly and police the delivery of the actions identified in the report. This monitoring group will report in to the Cabinet Committee on Economic Recovery and Jobs with a view to quarterly reports on implementation being prepared and published.This Plan, unlike previous strategies, reports and publications, is geared solely towards carrying out the necessary changes across the sectors to make it easier to do business in Ireland so that as many jobs as possible can be protected and created over the coming years.
Key Actions of The Plan are:
1. Design and launch a new Development Capital Scheme, aimed at addressing a funding gap for mid-sized, high-growth, indigenous companies with significant prospects for jobs and export growth. €50 million of State investment is expected to leverage up to an extra €100 million in private sector funding over its lifetime.
2. Restructuring of the enterprise agencies in order to better target supports towards indigenous businesses with job-creation potential:establish a new Potential Exporters Division within Enterprise Ireland to target a wider group of potential exporting companies.Establish a new “one?stop?shop” micro enterprise support structure through the dissolution of the existing CEB offices and the creation of a new Micro Enterprise and Small Business Unit in Enterprise Ireland that will work with Local Authorities to establish a new network of Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs) in each Local Authority.Establish a joint Enterprise Ireland/IDA senior management team to work on cross-agency priorities such as attracting international start-ups, improving mentoring for SMEs, and helping SMEs win supply contracts from multinationals.
3. Extend the corporation tax exemption for start?up companies until 2014.
4. Help more small businesses win big contracts, including:measures to make public procurement more accessible to Irish SMEs, such as
amending pre?qualification criteria, pre?qualification panels for SMEs and a new Procuring Innovation initiative which focuses on procuring solutions to specific needs, rather than prescriptive products or services.Measures to help more SMEs to win contracts with multinationals based here.
5. Measures to target improved performance by indigenous companies, including:greater funding for mentoring and management development networks.Long-term development programmes for 250 managers and short?term programmes for 700 managers.Increased mentoring of SMEs by top business leaders, multinationals and large Irish companies.Securing 750 new buyers for exporting Irish companies in 2012.Making 200 investments over €500,000 in EI?assisted firms in 2012.
6. The targeted temporary Partial Credit Guarantee for SMEs struggling to access credit will go live – for every €100 million extra in loans guaranteed under this demand-led scheme, over 1200 small businesses will benefit.
7. The Micro Finance fund will go live, generating up to €100 million in extra lending for micro-businesses over ten years.
8. The second call for Innovation Fund Ireland will go live, worth approximately €60 million, to invest in small Irish based high-tech companies.
9. Attract more mobile international entrepreneurs to start businesses in Ireland through a €10 million State fund for investment in international start?ups, improvements to immigration arrangements, a targeted marketing campaign, greater use of existing networks in the IDA and the diaspora.
10. Launch the Diaspora Finders Fee initiative (“Succeed in Ireland”) to attract greater numbers of inward investors to Ireland.
11. Establish a Global Irish Network of advocates to maximise the opportunities from Diaspora interest in Ireland and secure greater investment in Ireland.
12. Through the Strategic Investment Fund, channel commercial investment from the NPRF and matching investment from private sector investors towards productive investment in the Irish economy. The NPRF will also commit €250 million to the Infrastructure Fund, which will seek up to €1 billion from institutional investors in
Ireland and overseas for investment in infrastructure in Ireland.
13. Accelerate the delivery of economic outcomes from Government investment in research by implementing a Research Prioritisation Plan and enact new legislation to target the State’s research funding towards applied areas of research with strong potential for commercialisation and job-creation.
14. The R&D tax credit system will be further improved, making it easier for small and large companies to invest in research and development.
15. Initiatives targeting a number of key sectors where we see particular potential for jobcreation,such as:manufacturing, including establishment of a Manufacturing Development Forum.Establish a Health Innovation Hub to drive collaboration between the health system and the life sciences industry.Publish and implement a Cross-Departmental Plan for the development of the Green Economy.Agri?food – including winning more investment from multinational food companies for Ireland.Cloud computing – including a Cloud Computing Strategy for the Public Service and establishment of a research centre in cloud computing.Establish a cluster development team for digital games. Establish industry clusters in these targeted sectors.
The Government has an ambitious jobs plan which aims to create 100,000 new positions by 2016 and a further 100,000 by 2020. The State is to guarantee 75% of some loans to small and medium businesses in the second quarter of this year.The plan also includes a development capital scheme for companies with prospects of jobs and export growth. It will be backed by €50 million of state investment which is expected to leverage up to €100 million. A new micro finance fund will supply investment in small companies seeking less than €25,000. The fund will be worth €10 million every year for ten years. The European Investment Bank will supply some of the equity.There is also a facility for the diaspora to contribute to investment in new enterprises which is modelled on similar scheme in Israel. The plan includes steps to encourage more mobile international entrepreneurs to start businesses in Ireland through a €10 million State fund for investment in start-ups, improvement in immigration arrangements, a targeted marketing campaign and greater use of IDA Ireland’s network.
The NPRF will commit €250 million and a further €1 billion will be sought from institutional investors in Ireland and overseas for infrastructural investment.County and city enterprise boards will be dissolved and a new micro enterprise and small business unit in Enterprise Ireland will now work with local authorities. A corporation tax exemption will be extended for start-up companies until 2014.Other measures will see better support indigenous companies to improve their performance, including increased mentoring of SMEs by top business leaders, multinationals and large Irish companies and helping small businesses to engage in R&D and innovation.
The report acknowledges that the challenge for Ireland is to reinvent itself. It will be through the creativity and ingenuity of people in the private and public sectors that we will achieve this change. It is through ideas that can be successfully commercialised that we can create real value, change people’s lives, provide and sustain employment.