‘Government policies can boost $300 billion domestic outsourcing market’
With a market potential estimated to worth over $300 billion in Nigeria, the Federal Government has been urged to enact policies that will give the domestic outsourcing market a lift in the country.
The plea for government’s intervention is coming from experts, who gathered at the 2017 Nigeria Association of Information Technology Enabled Outsourcing Companies (NAITEOC) workshop in Lagos.
Already, a 2014 study conducted on Nigeria’s Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector by the Oxford Business Group (OBG), observed that the country has the largest population in Africa. With majority of them being within the age range of 25 and 35 years, with English as the official language, Nigeria’s demographics are attractive for Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) recruiters.
The OBG study also claimed that geographically, the country’s time zone is closely aligned and well suited to serving much of Europe, a major advantage over outsourcing destinations in Asia.
Indeed, at the NAITEOC workshop, with the theme: “Improving Process Efficiency, Service Delivery, and Cost Effectiveness in the Nigeria Business Sector through Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) Services,” experts said there was a need review the 2011 BPO laws.
According to them, for the country to begin to harness national wealth and economic prosperity in the sub-sector, the subsisting laws and its regulatory proprietaries for the industry should be reviewed to reflect global best practices.
While sharing their views on why key economic sectors of the country need to, as a matter of urgency, adopt BPO services, they advised that Nigeria also needed to take a cue from the likes of India, China, America, which are major BPO destinations.
To the President, NAITEOC, David Onu, outsourcing services really need to be backed by law and be embraced by domestic companies before attracting international investors into the country.
He added: “We estimate that just domestic outsourcing alone can create a minimum of 250,000 jobs within the next 18 months… clear example… there are 23 major banks in the country, on the average they have about 3,000,000 customers on their books. But most of these telcos and banks do not have call centres that have about 100 seats. What that means is that if you have 3,000,000 customers, how many people can 100 customer care attend to efficiently? That is a problem.
“Just by speaking to that need the bank will increase customer needs and customers satisfaction and also increase profits, because if you are happy with your bank you will surely do more.”
According to the Chief Executive Officer, Nigeria Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC), Ms Yewande Sadiku, represented at the forum by the Chief Investments Officer, Daniel Awurum, the commission find the sector appealing and is ready to support the various agencies in the industry.
She said: “What interests us the most is the capacity this sector has to bridge the unemployment gap in the country. Countries like China, India, South Africa, Egypt and Ghana are really catching up on this sector. When you see that countries like India where the BPO is contributing about six per cent to their GDP, we see that it is a very big deal. In fact, India has gone beyond BPO; they are now talking about Knowledge Processing Outsourcing (KPO).
“And we have also checked the demography to find out that over 60 per cent of our work force fall within this sector more than Agriculture and other sectors, so we are associating with this sector and ready to give maximum support.”
Also, the Growth and Employment in States (GEMS), at the forum, reiterated its commitment to support the domestic BPO industry with funds from the United Kingdom as one of the ways to boost growth in the nation’s economy.
Represented by Jumobi Fashola, GEMS said: “we will support areas of ICT, including cloud technology and local data hosting by businesses and organisations in Nigeria and focus on the outsourcing industry.”