Northern Ireland’s Chamber of Commerce has a new president, Victor Haslett.
Haslett has set himself a considerable challenge in the job already, asking the business world to put a smile back on its face.
Haslett pointed to mixed figures from the business world to indicate why, despite some worrying trends, there is reason to be optimistic about the province’s economy.
While traditional industries and agriculture are in serious decline, unemployment is at its lowest in a generation. He was gloomy about corporate taxes — Northern Ireland’s 29 percent tax simply cannot compete with the Republic’s 12.5 percent rate.
He attacked energy prices as well, saying that electricity was still more expensive in the North than in the Irish republic.