It’s a pleasure to see that business confidence is really beginning to soar here in Northern Ireland, with all the key business indicators turning very positive indeed. In the latest quarterly economic survey (QES) report, produced by economist Maureen O’Reilly for the NI Chamber of Commerce and BDO NI, the figures showed a healthy momentum building right across the board, with spiraling costs also finally beginning to slow down. The only concerns which could still put a dent in this positivity are inflation, which has not subsided as much as was expected yet, the big cuts in public spending and the fact that the Stormont Executive is still not functioning.
Positive Momentum And Consistency The Order Of The Day
Brian Murphy, managing partner at BDO NI, is quoted in an article in the Irish News, saying:
“Positive momentum and consistency are the order of the day, and businesses across Northern Ireland are clearly demonstrating both,
“Considering the difficult conditions many organisations are operating in, achieving any degree of positive momentum really is remarkable and it shows that the business community is continuing to strive for sustainable economic growth.
“Confidence continues to grow, with 62 per cent of companies positive that turnover will grow in the next 12 months -up 15 per cent on the last quarter of 2022, demonstrating real-time progress.
“This is not to say that businesses are not under pressure, nor does it imply the challenges around recruitment, skills and costs have dissipated. But it does demonstrate is that businesses are learning to operate and grow while simultaneously dealing with a range of challenges.”
Businesses Have Shown Resilience Despite Many Challenges
In the same article NI Chamber’s newly-appointed chief executive Suzanne Wylie is quoted as saying:
“These findings clearly demonstrate the resilience of business through a protracted period of challenges.
“It is encouraging to see the stabilisation of business confidence in the first half of 2023, with a strong performance across so many indicators relative to other UK regions albeit that there remain significant challenges to growth in both the Northern Ireland and UK’s economies.
“But the most alarming aspect of the findings this quarter is the perceived impact of Stormont’s fiscal problems on the economy and individual firms.
“It serves as a timely reminder that a sustainably funded, functioning Executive is the missing piece in unlocking Northern Ireland’s potential and driving confidence and growth.”
There are still issues to overcome but the signs are that there is more than enough determination and strength among the business community to do so as we look to brighter times ahead.