Horace Chang to meet with BPO stakeholders today
Dr Horace Chang, minister without portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, is slated to meet with business process outsourcing (BPO) stakeholders in Montego Bay today to discuss matters affecting the competitiveness and viability of the ICT-BPO industry.
"Yes, there is a lot of interest in Jamaica and all we are doing is seeking to ensure that all is in place for this to be sustainable," a stakeholder told The Gleaner yesterday, in confirming the meeting. "This is separate and apart from our concerns with the telecoms operators."
The meeting, which is convened in collaboration with the Business Process Industry Association of Jamaica (BPIAJ), comes on the heels of a recent letter BPIAJ President Dr Guna Muppuri sent to Dr Andrew Wheatley, the science, energy and technology minister, in which he complained about inconsistencies in telecoms services to the sector. The letter was copied to Daryl Vaz, minister without portfolio in the Office of the Prime Minister.
HIGHEST TELECOMS COSTS
"Despite the liberalisation of the telecoms sector, Jamaica's telecoms cost remains one of the highest among countries in Latin America and the Caribbean region over 40 per cent more than its competing counterparts," Dr Muppuri stated in his letter, a copy of which The Gleaner was able to source.
"A robust and reliable telecom infrastructure is critical to the growth and expansion of the BPO industry," the letter continued. "We sell Jamaica as an ideal destination of outsourcing because of the labour pool, the infrastructure, the government support, and the incentives, [but] with issues such as these, it undermines our strength because the infrastructure is shaky and the Government is not holding those responsible accountable."
Since that letter was dispatched, sector players have had a meeting with Dr Wheatley and representatives from telecoms providers Flow and Digicel. Based on information gleaned from the meeting, it would appear that an amicable solution was arrived at, on the strength of assurances the BPO players got from the telecoms companies.
It is believed that today's meeting with Dr Chang will address non-telecoms issues that the BPO stakeholders are unhappy with and wants to see addressed.