Business as usual not sufficient within Government departments.
Co-ordination of all strands essential through dedicated ministry.
Import price reductions must be reflected in retail price.
Competitiveness must be protected.
ISME, the Irish Small and Medium Enterprises Association, called on the Government to create a dedicated unit within the Department of Jobs Enterprise and Innovation to coordinate the various strands of activity to counter the negative effect of the Brexit vote. In particular the Association called for an immediate implementation of their Plan B in relation to the short-term effect of currency fluctuation for SME exporters.
According to ISME, CEO, Mark Fielding, “The immediate and short-term effect of a weaker sterling will have major implications for SME exporters and the Tourism trade, 41% of which is British holiday-makers. In addition border counties will be the first to feel the pinch of a prolonged devaluation of sterling. Similar interventions to those introduced in previous sterling devaluations must be considered in the short-term”.
“On the import side, it is imperative that prices of imports are reflected in retail prices and that Ireland is not seen as a cash cow by Irish based UK multiples and department stores and that the sterling devaluation is passed on and ultimately reflected in CSO inflation figures.”
“Of utmost importance now is the continuing battle for competitiveness and a renewed focus must be placed on government influenced business costs. The Government continuously hides behind the overall inflation rate as evidence that competitiveness is satisfactory but they are not looking beyond the headline figures and analysing how costs are affecting businesses. We must do all we can to reduce our costs. Restoring Irelands cost competitiveness is a prerequisite for enhancing our attractiveness as a place to do business, not just for foreign direct investment but for our own indigenous enterprises.”
“ISME welcomes the thrust of the Plan B announced on Friday, however there needs to be one government minister placed in charge of the Plan for the longer term, to ensure action, co-ordination and responsibility are taken”, concluded Fielding.