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PM cites three-pronged approach to boost BPO

Published:Wednesday | April 27, 2016 | 4:00 AMMark Titus

The Government will be taking a three-pronged approach in its bid to attract more investment to the local business process outsourcing (BPO) sector as part of the overall drive to make Jamaica a more attractive destination for potential investment.

Speaking with The Gleaner following last Friday's ground-breaking ceremony for the first of three Bioprist Knowledge Parks in Montego Bay, St James, Prime Minister Andrew Holness identified energy cost reduction, impacting crime and security, and the creation of the social infrastructure to support the sector, as the pillars on which the Government plans to compete with other destinations in the Western Hemisphere.

"The first would be energy, to make sure that the operations are competitive within this region and the Western Hemisphere, and already we have started on that track ... so with energy, we should be competitive," the prime minister said.

REDUCING CRIME

"The issue of crime and security, that's one area we intend to make a big impact. Security does play a critical role in BPO operations, and it's a part of their cost as well, so I think the greatest thing Government can do is to create the social infrastructure to support the growth of the BPO industry.

"One of the errors that was made in the past, not an error, but more an oversight, is that when the industries came not enough provisions were made, for example, housing," Holness continued. "If it is that we are going to have an expansion in employment, which would see two, three, 4,000 workers come in, particularly young people, there must be adequate provision of housing solutions either to purchase or rent."

"So one of the things this Government will be announcing coming into the Budget period, would be programmes to align and logistically support the development of the industries, particularly the development of housing, so that when the labour force moves there is that kind of social infrastructure to support it," Holness said.

The prime minister says the education sector is also a critical partner, due to the sector's "heavy" reliance on human resources, and that while there are some gaps in middle management, his Government would be moving to ensure that training is provided to meet the demands of the sector.

While acknowledging the positive impact lower energy cost has had on his operations, Davon Crump, the CEO of Global Outsourcing Solutions Limited, one of the only local operators in the industry, says there are other areas that need to be prioritised by the Government.

mark.titus@gleanerjm.com