Thu | Sep 16, 2021

Phillips urges government to be cautious with BPO sector

Published:Sunday | April 26, 2020 | 12:00 AMChristopher Serju
Opposition Leader, Dr Peter Phillips.

Opposition Leader, Dr Peter Phillips is urging government to be cautious with how it handles the business process outsourcing (BPO) sector at this time. 

The sector has been at the centre of the growing COVID-19 outbreak in the country, which this evening reached 350 confirmed cases. Seven people have died. 

Phillips said the sector is one of the country's few remaining sources of foreign exchange, given the downturn in tourism and bauxite earnings due to the disease's impact on the economy. 

He said there are many families depending on BPOs for sustenance. 

“To protect this sector of the economy, the government must establish and enforce new and improved standards of operation. The BPO leaders also have a critical proactive role to play to protect the industry and invest in the health protection of their workers and wider communities. This is time for active, honest partnership and accountability," he said. 

“Given that there is no vaccine on the horizon, every company in each industry, every organisation needs to re-think and re-tool in light of the new ways in which we will have to operate and succeed in this new normal,” he said in a national broadcast a short while ago.

However, he said the process of reopening and rebuilding of the economy has to be carefully planned and implemented and employ the best expertise. 

In this regard, Phillips recommended the establishment of a ‘COVID-19 Prevention Planning and Oversight Committee’ (CPOC), to allow for more inclusive planning and organised reopening of the affected sectors. He said the committee would also be responsible for establishing critical health protection protocols that would be applied to various sectors to be brought back on stream, including the country's ports of entry.

The committee is to comprise private sector, health professionals, trade unions, churches and civil society. Among other things it would provide oversight of the implementation process, and oversee the fair and impartial distribution of benefits.

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