Minister of State in the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Hon. Sharon Ffolkes Abrahams, says that the Government is actively seeking opportunities for public-private partnership to develop additional Information Communication Technology (ICT) space to meet growing demand.
She noted that some 26 companies are providing over 13,000 jobs in the offshore business process outsourcing (BPO) sector, while other investors are to come on board.
“Without any doubt, the local ICT sector is experiencing a growth phase. We are seeing for example, the entrance of BPO giants such as Sutherland Global Services, who will commence operating a Global Delivery Centre at the UWI (University of the West Indies) Mona campus very soon.
“Indeed with the current expansion rate and projected growth of the ICT sector, it is expected that some 5,000 jobs will be created over the next three years,” Mrs. Ffolkes Abrahams stated.
She was speaking at Wednesday’s (December 12) official opening of the LIME Contact Centre in the Montego Bay Free Zone, which was set up through partnership between LIME Jamaica and Canadian-based TELUS International.
According to the State Minister, Jamaica, with its near shore access to the United States (US), low attrition rate and high labour force availability among secondary and university graduates, is seen as an attractive destination for ICT investment.
In fact, she said, the country is regarded as the leading contact centre location in the Caribbean.
She noted that the Government has introduced a range of reforms and measures designed to support the industries and attract more businesses to the island.
“Recently, Minister of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining, Hon. Phillip Paulwell announced the development of 100,000 square feet of factory space through an ICT programme. As part of the programme, the Factories Corporation of Jamaica (FCJ) will be transforming some 63,000 square feet of space in the Montego Bay Free Zone over the next 18 months,” she informed.
The State Minister, in the meantime, commended the operators of the contact centre, which, she said, will create some 180 new jobs in the initial stage of its operations, while the country will benefit from the technology transfer.
“I …welcome the initiative, as bringing in the technology to operate the call centre, sharing experiences and expertise will certainly serve to complement the efforts to enhance the development of our telecommunications industry. The fact that this investment will result in the creation of 180 new jobs, we welcome and applaud your efforts,” she stated.