The Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Brendan Howlin TD, has announced additional Exchequer investment of €200m to fund new projects in a range of sectors including new road schemes, social housing to meet acute needs arising in that area and a range of tourist related works to help support long term jobs. It will also help to support a range of projects which commemorate the foundation of our State. As with previous investment packages, these projects will be spread around the country, and will create economic activity and employment on a regional basis.
The projects will be funded from the proceeds of the sale of State assets (BGÉ and ESB).
The Minister noted that the construction industry is showing very promising signs of recovery which is helping to generate economic activity and create jobs. He welcomed recent figures which show that activity in the sector has increased in each of the last eight months, with the latest expansion the sharpest since December 2004. The rate of job creation in the sector has also increased continually over the same period.
Since July 2012, Minister Howlin has made a series of announcements in relation to additional capital investment as part of a stimulus package to help support investment in infrastructure and jobs. This additional investment has supplemented the €17 billion Exchequer capital programme (set out in “Infrastructure and Capital Investment 2012-2016: Medium Term Exchequer Framework”) and has been primarily focused on projects with a high employment impact and which can benefit local economies throughout the State. It was also predicated on the use of non-traditional funding methods e.g. private financing through the PPP structure and additional Exchequer investment through reinvestment of proceeds from the sale of State assets and the new licencing arrangement for the National Lottery.
The €200m investment being announced today is additional to the €3.3 billion capital investment that the Exchequer will be making this year.
On State asset sales, the Minister noted that significant progress is being made in the State assets disposals programme, some of the proceeds of which will be used to fund the Stimulus investment announced today.
The Government commenced a Capital Review in April 2014 and a new multi-annual capital framework will be set in the Autumn. The Capital Review will help to identify the key priorities and scale of capital investment required over the period to 2020 and will inform Government decisions on the areas where capital resources should be directed. It will also include an examination of the potential scope for using non-traditional funding sources to further augment capital investment. In advance of this, the investment announced today will seek to utilise asset sale proceeds available for immediate investment to supplement the existing Exchequer framework.