Dr Stephen Farry MLA stated: “This is some encouraging news that the deep recession may finally be bottoming out for Northern Ireland. However, the Executive must not show any complacency over the challenges faced and must recognise the opportunities that have so far been missed.
“First, Northern Ireland is still the only UK region not to return to growth, and recovery is set to be slowest.
“Second, the size of the public sector in Northern Ireland acted as a cushion through very difficult times, but as public spending is cut by the UK Government in an attempt to rebalance the books, Northern Ireland stands to be most exposed to this reduction in public and private spending.
“Third, Northern Ireland Executive has not taken the opportunity to re-balance and modernise the local economy. There has been considerable opportunity for increased public spending as part of large UK fiscal stimulus. The Northern Ireland Executive has had access to its share of this resource. While in the rest of the UK, there has been investment for example in developing the green economy, in Northern Ireland resources have been used only to address the cost pressures being faced with business through things like reduced rates and business support. The opportunity has not been taken to address the fundamental structural weaknesses in the economy. As the UK Government will be one of the earliest to end its fiscal stimulus, the window of opportunity for this is quickly closing.”