Coalition outsources economic policy

The Government is outsourcing the development of a mid-term economic strategy to keep the country growing after the departure of the troika.

In response to a parliamentary question from Sinn Féin’s finance spokesperson Pearse Doherty, Finance Minister Michael Noonan said: “Following competitive tendering processes, we engaged the services of two consultancy firms. The ESRI was engaged to advise and assist in the economic modelling of various policy scenarios.

“PMCA Economic Consultants were engaged to provide assistance and analysis in the preparation of the medium-term economic strategy, including an analysis of recent medium-term economic strategies in countries comparable to Ireland, and to provide related advice on the effective development and implementation of the strategy,” he said.

The mid-term economic strategy is the roadmap the country will follow to return the country to growth and employment between 2014 and 2020.

The move to bring in outside consultants to help draft the mid-term economic strategy follows reports at the weekend that the Economic Management Council has been seeking to bypass the secretary general of the Department of Finance John Moran.

It was reported by The Sunday Business Post that a decision was reached to take the development of the plan away from Mr Moran, a former central banker, in what was described as a diminution of the role of secretary general of the department.

The tender document for the development of the mid-term economic strategy states that the winning body will not only be responsible for analysis and preparation of the mid-term economic strategy but also for advising the Department for Finance on the necessary framework and metrics to ensure effective implementation of the strategy.

Sinn Féin’s Pearse Doherty said that the decision to outsource the mid-term economic strategy shows who is really running the country.

“This goes to the heart of who is running economic policy for the State. We know the Economic Council centralised decision-making, now we discover they’re outsourcing economic longer-term planning.

“It’s astonishing the Government won’t allow equality budgeting groups to equality proof economic policy but it will allow highly paid consultants to write economic policy, without department or democratic oversight,” he said.


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