On her first day in office, Minister Foster said: “The success of the US-NI Investment Conference provides an excellent platform for building on Northern Ireland’s good investment record in recent years. Northern Ireland is a globally recognised location for international investment.
“Invest NI is already following up on contacts made through the Conference. The objective is to secure Foreign Direct Investment, over the medium to long-term, for the benefit of everyone in Northern Ireland. It will also encourage and support local companies to innovate, increase productivity, export and grow.”
Reflecting on the wide and varied remit of her new portfolio, Minister Foster continued: “I welcome this opportunity to help meet the challenges set out in the Executive’s Programme for Government, to grow the Northern Ireland economy, to strengthen the private sector and to raise living standards for our citizens.
“There is huge potential to grow our tourism industry. I will be working hard to help deliver on the stretching tourism targets set in the Programme for Government.
“Telecommunications are also vital to strengthening our economy. Working closely with the private sector, government will seek to offer an enhanced telecoms infrastructure to improve the competitiveness of local businesses and to attract internationally mobile investment in the high technology and tradable services sectors.
“Security of energy supplies, the increasing use of renewable energy sources and the cost of energy are also major issues as we go forward. The priority is to encourage a more competitive and sustainable energy industry.
“The Single Electricity Market provides a framework for a new wholesale market in line with the EU vision for regional electricity markets. The ongoing challenge will be to ensure that it promotes the interests of consumers by enabling greater competition, while also securing a diverse, viable and environmentally sustainable long term energy supply.”
The Minister recognised the global challenges being faced by the Northern Ireland economy. She concluded: “We are undoubtedly facing very challenging global economic conditions, in the short term at least. But Northern Ireland now has a stable devolved government, determined to lead the region through testing economic times to a better, more prosperous future.”