THE jobs budget will be announced next month, Enterprise, Jobs and Innovation Minister Richard Bruton has confirmed.
He said the Government remained on target to make the announcement before the end of May.
"The Taoiseach and Tanaiste have said the jobs budget will be in May and we are working to that deadline," Mr Bruton said.
The jobs initiative is expected to include an element of taxation changes. It is understood that the EU and IMF will not object to such changes.
"The jobs budget will have a number of discreet proposals and will be in a broader context of the Government strategy to create employment. It will go beyond cutting employers PRSI and the VAT rate," Mr Bruton said.
Bloxham Stockbrokers said last week that exports would not be enough to lift the economy but Mr Bruton said they remain vital to the growth of the country.
"Clearly [growth] depends on success in our export markets. It is about looking at the companies in the domestic sector for which exports could be the difference between surviving and going under.
"SMEs will drive the jobs growth so I've asked Enterprise Ireland to look at high value start-ups and a much wider pool of small companies in general. We need to shift from the top line exports figure to getting companies to break into exports where they wouldn't have before," Mr Bruton said.
The Government's proposals for a loan guarantee scheme have been criticised, it could replicate work already carried out by the banks but the minister insisted the scheme could benefit some businesses, particularly technology companies.
"Of course banks should be in a position to fund viable projects but banks are not in the habit of funding hi-tech start ups. They have to re-learn those skills.
"There are companies whose collateral has been depleted and the banks will want to, understandably, see their money protected by collateral so this isn't going to be a loan guarantee for projects without a strong case for development."