MONTEGO BAY — Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Dr. Christopher Tufton, headed a JAMPRO-facilitated tour of business process outsourcing (BPO) facilities in the Montego Bay Free Zone, Thursday July 21, 2011.
During the tour he held discussions with key players in the industry, with the objective of ‘fast tracking’ the growth and development of the information and communications technology (ICT) sector. The tour formed part of Government’s commitment to strengthening Jamaica’s position, as the leading nearshore contact centre destination in the English-speaking Caribbean.
BPO operations currently account for approximately 11,000 jobs in the ICT sector, across 26 local and international companies. The government, through JAMPRO, is examining several strategies and initiatives towards maximizing Jamaica’s potential in the BPO sector and creating more ITC related jobs.
“We feel that with some effort in creating additional capacity and space, and also showing to investors abroad the advantages of investing in Jamaica … we could more than double the capacity, as it relates to the number of investors and the number of jobs that can be created within a relatively short space of time,” Dr. Tufton told JIS News after the tour.
He indicated that the tour was more a ‘fact-finding’ one, with the primary objective of continuing the thrust towards expanding ICT in Jamaica.
“So, I am just here today looking, listening and talking to the investors or operators, looking at the space and the quality of the space, with the hope of working with JAMPRO and the team at the Ministry, to continue the thrust towards expanding ICT in Jamaica which, we feel, is definitely an area that can provide critical jobs for Jamaicans here in Montego Bay, in Kingston and other parts of the country,” Dr. Tufton said.
Alluding to emerging trends in investor focus, as well as other challenges to investments, the Industry, Investment and Commerce Minister noted that Jamaica offers a greater advantage to investors.
He said that investors were looking for investment locations where they could find the personnel that are trainable and an environment where they can feel comfortable.
“On all those variables, Jamaica offers an advantage and, as a consequence, we believe that we can ramp up the production and the investment levels and see major expansion in terms of jobs,” Dr. Tufton said.
By GLENIS ROSE, JIS Reporter