BPOs key to growth - sector interests
Key stakeholders in the local business process outsourcing (BPO) sector are in full support of a recent call by Richard Byles, the co-chairman of the Economic Programme Oversight Committee, for greater investment in the sector to help boost economic growth and create jobs.
"Richard Byles is absolutely correct that BPO presents a clear opportunity for fast and sustainable growth of Jamaica's economy, but it needs deliberate and purposeful action on the part of Government and the private sector," said Gloria Henry, who is the vice-president in charge of operations at the Port Authority of Jamaica at the Montego Bay Free Zone.
Byles, who is also chairman and chief executive officer (CEO) of Sagicor Group Jamaica, had cited the BPO sector, which is valued at approximately US$104.6 billion globally, as the ideal vehicle for the 'five per cent growth in five years' being promulgated by Michael Lee-Chin, the head of the Economic Growth Council.
"Government needs to ensure that the policy framework is, and remains, competitive with other countries in the region. Similarly, the private sector needs to invest on a larger scale than what currently exists," continued Henry, who is also president of the Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
"Real estate is not the only opportunity for investors, but we need domestic investors to become operators and to expand this segment of the business."
US$250,000 for land
Byles, whose organisation last year revealed plans to invest in the sector, argued that it costs about US$250,000 to acquire land and build a hotel room, with an average employment per room of 1.5 Jamaicans; while noting that on the contrary, US$10,000 can establish a seat in the BPO sector.
"If a centre runs two or three shifts, the average employment would be two or three Jamaicans," said Byles at the time he revealed the investment plans.
Head of the Montego Bay-based Global Outsourcing Solutions Limited businessman Davon Crump is fully supportive of the idea, which fits perfectly into his long-standing belief that the BPO's labour force will one day outnumber the number of workers in the tourism industry.
"I will be bold enough to say that outside of the BPO, there is no other sector that can make us realise the Economic Growth Council's GDP target," Crump told The Gleaner yesterday.
"It is what we as stakeholders have been calling for from successive governments, but we must understand that we are operating in a global market and cannot play politics with such an important issue."