BROOKLYN, NY – Prime Minister Andrew Holness, says Jamaica’s business process outsourcing (BPO) industry has recorded a 15 percent increase in employment, despite the economic fallout resulting from the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Addressing the opening of the IBEX BPO facility at the G-Tech Park in Portmore, St. Catherine, southeast of here on the weekend, Holness said approximately 44,000 persons were employed across the sector as of June 2021, relative to 38,400 for the corresponding period last year.
He said that the sector was among the few managing to navigate the ravages of COVID-19 to record growth.
“This industry is doing very well and is a shining example of how to overcome challenges and adapt to changing circumstances,” Prime Minister Holness said, lauding the sector’s leadership for spearheading diligent implementation of COVID-19 infection prevention and control safeguards and maintained that the operating protocols should serve as a blueprint for broader workplace measures that were instituted following an outbreak at a BPO entity last year.
He told the ceremony that since April 2021, there had been no significant outbreaks at any BPO facility, noting that the “success of the industry is tangible proof of what we have said… that we can preserve lives and livelihoods at the same time.
“That is what we have tried to do… keep our businesses and our economy open so that people can earn,” the Prime Minister said, adding that while businesses are operating. People’s livelihoods are maintained, COVID-19 infections must remain “low and manageable.”
Holness said greater adherence to the protocols by citizens and businesses would reduce the need to resort to restrictive measures under the Disaster Risk Management Act (DRMA).
The Prime Minister pointed out that where steps are taken by entities’ leaderships to ensure that protocols are observed and activities properly regulated, “no problem will occur.
“Where we have problems is when persons do not observe the protocols… and a large part of the problem is ignorance. Possibly, greater public education needs to happen to get our citizens to change the way they behave during the pandemic,” Holness added.
The G-Tech Park was conceptualized to meet the emerging demand for services provided by the growing PBO industry, a major contributor to Jamaica’s economy.
Against this background, two additional buildings are slated to be opened at the facility in early 2022.