PRESS RELEASE: ISME welcomes the publication of the Irish Competitiveness Scorecard 2020 by the National Competitiveness Council : SME

  • ISME welcomes Dr. Ruane on the importance of liquidity for maintaining the viability of the SME sector.
  • According to the Scorecard, insurance and legal services costs remain uncompetitive.
  • ISME welcomes the fact that the NCC confirms that Ireland is a relatively high-income economy.
  • The fact that the SME sector is not represented in the NCC is evident in some of its results.

Ireland’s Competitiveness Scorecard 2020 was released today by the National Competitiveness Council. We welcome the clarity and clarity presented in Dr. Frances Ruane becomes clear in her first scorecard as chair of the NCC.

The 2020 Scorecard will of course be overshadowed by the Covid 19 pandemic. For this reason, it is more important than ever that our business environment is as efficient and cost-effective as possible. We particularly welcome Dr. Ruane on the importance of liquidity for maintaining the viability of the SME sector.

It is noteworthy that two areas on which ISME has consistently lobbied over the past four years remain unsolved in the eyes of the NCC. Insurance and legal services costs remain uncompetitive. In our view, Messrs. Varadkar and Martin must carefully examine the caliber of ministers to be assigned to the ministries of finance and justice. There is clear evidence that the insurance and legal lobbies have covered the current ministers in these departments for regulatory purposes.

The OECD country report on Ireland, the (multiple) semester reports of the EU Commission on Ireland and the NCC cannot all be wrong. We have a persistent, systemic failure to fight rental-seeking (and possibly collusive) behavior in our legal and underwriting services that simply cannot continue. This must stop immediately with the formation of a new cabinet, which will require heavy blows in these departments.

Dr. Ruane and her team were admirably open and keen in their call to the government to “tackle longstanding problems”. In particular, you notice the following:

  • Access to short-term liquidity and investment capital on affordable terms
  • The cost of insurance and legal services
  • Indirect costs such as housing and childcare
  • Operating burdens related to public administration or inefficient / uncompetitive private markets
  • Underinvestment in important public infrastructures

The NCC says bluntly, “We must act now.”

We welcome the fact that the NCC confirms Ireland as a relatively high-income economy. Wages are above the euro area average, comparable to those in Finland, Germany and the Netherlands, and only lag behind that in Luxembourg and Denmark. Due to the wide range of misinformation about wage levels and social support in Ireland, ISME supports the development of an indicator of social progress in Ireland (SPI).

Unfortunately, the fact that the SME sector is not represented in the NCC remains obvious. The scorecard states:Ireland scores in terms of paying taxes, protecting minority investors and solving bankruptcies.“Although 98% of Irish business demographics cannot provide access to the review process in the Companies Act. This is an area where ISME has been seeking administrative reform since 2012. The SME sector remains a strategic blind spot for the NCC, despite having 74% of employment in the productive economy and 98% of active companies, due to the fact that, despite the presence of an excellent cohort of members in its council, the SME sector has no delegate, and the Ministry of Economy, Enterprise and Innovation has so far unsuccessfully pointed this out .

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