JIS News

Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Hon. Karl Samuda, has indicated that the Factories Corporation of Jamaica (FCJ) intends to begin procurement procedures for an Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Park this year.
Opening the 2010/11Sectoral Debate at Gordon House, Tuesday (May 11), the Minister noted that the Park would be located next to the “Caribbean’s largest dormitory bedroom community”, Portmore, with a highly educated workforce, ideal for the business process outsourcing (BPO) sector.
BPO is the contracting of a specific business task, such as payroll, to a third-party service provider.
Turning to other matters, the Minister said that over 2,000 jobs were added in the ICT sector, and capital expenditure of nearly $500 million realised in 2009/10. He said this was as a result of the Government’s strategy for attracting ICT investments, which involved input from the Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO).
He pointed out that, last year, JAMPRO helped to create new jobs in the ICT sector, by connecting local BPO operators with overseas clients or companies who wanted to outsource or sub-contract services to a third party provider.
“Through JAMPRO, we landed the first new multi-national investment in the BPO sector for the past five to six years. This was done via joint-investment with a local/Jamaican medium-sized operator and has the potential to generate 1,500 good quality paying jobs,” he said.
JAMPRO hosted a number of inward missions with potential clients, real estate developers, and site selection consultants, the Minister noted.
He said that they all had one common message: that Jamaica is a perfect location for outsourcing, due to competitive costs and a highly developed talent pool, but needed more space to attract new businesses.
“By space we mean ICT-ready, built-out space for rent. No new investor is going to wait nine to18 months for space to be built. They will have moved on to another location and opportunity,” he explained.
Mr. Samuda pointed out that this challenge has created significant opportunities for local investors to consider investing in real estate, to provide well needed space to grow the ICT sector.
“We need space in Montego Bay, Kingston and St. Catherine,” he said.
Additionally, other new businesses/accounts were established in the areas of debt collection, telecommunications customer support, telesales and lead generation, time share sales, medical help line, advertising/market research and human resource outsourcing.
Turning to practical examples of how the Government’s ICT investment has been working, the Minister said that Minacs, a 28-year old company which services Fortune 500 clients in Business Process Outsourcing that employ 13,000 professionals around the world, has invested in Jamaica.
He also pointed out that Minacs chose to partner with a local operator, using their management expertise and capabilities, proving that Jamaica has the entrepreneurial talent required to develop the industry.
In terms of existing investments, the Minister said one of Jamaica’s largest existing operators, Tele-performance, has been continuously growing and expanding, having added 220 new agents between July and August 2009, and will be adding another 500 agents by July of 2010.
“One of our largest existing operators is currently looking for space to expand, anywhere between 20,000 to 50,000 square feet. This could translate into as many as 500 new jobs by 2011 from just one operator,” he added.
Mr. Samuda also informed that infrastructure development is currently underway to build on lands acquired by Vistaprint, a 90,000 square-foot customer support and design centre within the soon to be developed Barnett Technology Park in St. James. He said that the park will represent the consolidation of Montego Bay as the BPO hub of the Caribbean.

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