Banker presents report

Think tank doubts Higgins’ call for state equity in firms

Benny Higgins

Benny Higgins: likely to propose equity stakes (pic: Terry Murden)

Benny Higgins’ expected call for direct state investments in key businesses and sectors has been questioned by a leading think tank.

The former banker will present a report to the government early next week and is understood to be recommending a new organisation be set up to take equity stakes in strategic organisations at risk of collapse.

However, the Fraser of Allander Institute has raised doubts over the wisdom of such a policy.

“Investing a public share in private sector companies can help support growth and provide greater resilience, but there is a long-list of failed investments over the years,” it says in a commentary today.

“Managing these sorts of investments is also not easy, particularly given often complex political and ethical considerations, and requires a particular (expensive) expertise and skill-set.”

Mr Higgins will present the recommendations of the Economic Advisory Group set up by the government as the impact of the virus began to take hold.

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