Investment Minister, Tufton says “Sector’s 11,000 posts can be doubled in a few years”
THE Government, criticized for failing to provide the thousands of jobs promised during the 2007 election campaign, yesterday announced a five-point plan to drive expansion of the information communications technology/ business process outsourcing (ICT/BPO) sector in the short term, with a view to at least doubling the sector’s 11,000 jobs in a few years.
Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce Dr Christopher Tufton said Jamaica’s close proximity to the United States, trainable workforce and developed infrastructure position the country to grab a larger share of the region’s BPO market, which is expected to double to US$5 billion in the next two years.
“ICT investment attraction will be a top priority of the Government over the next 12 to 18 months,” said Dr Tufton, who took over the industry, investment and commerce ministry just more than a month ago.
“We believe that over the next few years we could more than double (the number of jobs). In fact, I am looking personally at 30,000 jobs in two to three years, but I believe that over the next year and a half we can lock in a number of clients,” he said.
Speaking at a press conference at the head office of Jampro in Kingston, Dr Tufton said the Caribbean and Latin American BPO market was approximately US$2.5 billion and should double by 2013. Jamaica only has six per cent or US$145 million of this market, he said.
Locally there are 26 firms in the sector with nearly 11,000 full-time jobs ideally suited for high school and university graduates.
“Sector analysts conservatively estimate that Jamaica’s ICT/BPO sector must grow at a compounded annual rate of 20 to 21 per cent over the next four to five years to remain competitive in the Caribbean/Latin American market,” Dr Tufton said.
BPO involves the contracting of the operations and responsibilities of specific business functions to third-party service providers in order to reduce cost. The sector ranges from basic sales to technical support in health care, finance and logistics.
Worldwide, BPO spending increased from $460 billion in 2007 to an expected $680 billion this year.
Yesterday, Dr Tufton also announced the appointment of ICT entrepreneur and businessman Patrick Casserly as ambassador/special envoy with responsibility for ICT in his Ministry.
Casserly, the Jamaica Observer Business Leader for 2004, is widely acknowledged for revolutionising the local ICT/BPO industry. He grew his company e-Services group from 35 employees in 2000 to more than 4,000 contact centre professionals before selling the company to international BPO giant ACS for US$100 million in 2009.
Casserly’s role will be “to assist in the refinement and execution of the promotion strategy for the ICT sector with a view to converting ICT investment leading into prospects, and to ultimately landed investments”, Dr Tufton stated.
Source: Jamaica Observer