Tue | Oct 16, 2018

We must remove bureaucracy to grow BPO - Samuda

Published:Wednesday | May 9, 2018 | 12:00 AMChristopher Thomas/ Gleaner Writer
Karl Samuda

WESTERN BUREAU:

Karl Samuda, the minister without portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, wants to see a removal of the bureaucracy, which he says is stifling the growth of several Jamaican sectors, including the rising business process outsourcing (BPO), which is providing significant levels of employment.

Samuda made the call while addressing the 13th annual staging of the Montego Bay Freezone's employment awards ceremony, which took place in the western city in St James last week.

"Our mandate is to grow the economy and create jobs for the people, and the BPO sector is the sector that we're looking to, to making the greatest contribution in that regard," said Samuda. "But, we have to, first of all, look at how we can reduce the bureaucracy that is still plaguing the sectors within our economy, and this sector is no exception."

 

MUST BE ATTRACTIVE AND EFFICIENT

 

"I can give you my assurances that every measure possible will be entertained for eliminating bureaucracy and getting you up to speed as quickly as possible, because nobody is waiting on us. If we're not on the cutting edge of change, and really making improvements in the shortest possible time, we're going to miss the boat."

Last year, conflict was brewing between the Business Process Industry Association of Jamaica and the Jamaica Special Economic Zone Authority in regard to certain stipulations in the Special Economic Zone (SEZ) Act, which came into effect in January 2016.

The BPO sector, which currently accounts for close to 30,000 jobs across Jamaica, claimed that it has become stagnated because of the ongoing climate of uncertainty surrounding the SEZ legislation and the range of new fees and taxes being imposed on the sector.

Samuda said Jamaica must become competitive enough that stakeholders will not seek other alternatives.

"We are good, but we're not so good that people don't have alternatives," said Samuda. "So we have to make sure that we're attractive and efficient, and just being beautiful with lovely beaches is not enough. We have to be businesslike, to be sure to eliminate all the obstacles that confront us."