The Irish Government claimed on Friday that 20 new jobs planned for the overseas offices of Enterprise Ireland, the public agency responsible for assisting indigenous exporting firms, will trigger 1,200 additional Irish jobs by 2015.
This pearl of wisdom from a management consultancy, makes job creation seem easy and what if 100 or a multiple were employed?
Richard Bruton, enterprise and jobs minister, said 20 additional staff will be recruited locally on fixed term contracts and will be assigned to offices in key target markets including in particular the BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa).
The Government says:
"It is estimated the deployment of the requested additional resources can drive export growth across the specified markets over and above what can currently expected to be achieved with EI’s existing resources in place. It is estimated that this incremental export growth of an additional €250m per annum by 2015 would result in an estimated additional 1,200 jobs in Ireland. This request for additional resources in selected markets is based on a clearly identified market opportunity which is matched by clear evidence of EI client demand/capability and which will result in a substantial increase in exports and resulting jobs in Ireland."
What is striking is that after 60 years of public support for the indigenous sector, there is so little data available on what works or doesn't. EU enterprise reports often have blanks for Irish data.
No longitudinal studies are done that would track success and failure over time.
There is a lot of detail in Friday's statement but key data is deliberately missing.
There is no data on indigenous exports to the BRIC countries. Wonder why?
Total exports of goods (2012 ) and services (2011) amounted to €7.7bn -- 4.35% of the total headline exports value of €177bn in 2012.
Most of these exports are from foreign-owned firms in Ireland.
The reason why no data on exports is highlighted is because indigenous exports to each individual country, are at a decimal point.
Earlier this week, Eamon Gilmore, foreign affairs, trade and deputy prime minister, made the stupid claim in Beijing that China is crucial to the Irish recovery. However, what he did not reveal was that indigenous exports are at about 5% of total exports to China or €200m in value.
This reality raises a question on the wisdom of trying to sell everywhere when outside of the UK, Irish-owned firms have limited success in Europe.