Nigeria low on BPO, say NITDA, ISPON

By Kokumo Goodie, Lagos, Nigeria

If the business process outsourcing (BPO) industry is given the required attention, it could take care of the youth unemployment in the country and become another source of revenue for the economy, the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) and the Institute of Software Practitioners of Nigeria (ISPON), have argued.

The two ICT bodies believe that if the country does what is right, onshore BPO could reduce wasteful spending in government while offshore BPO could create millions of jobs in the country.

The Acting Director General, NITDA, Ashiru Daura, and president of ISPON, Dr. Chris Uwaje, argue that if the government gets it right, Nigerians will have no need to go abroad in search of white collar jobs. They spoke during separate interviews in Lagos, Nigeria's economic capital.

“The global trend is BPO and it is a reality that Nigeria by virtue of the language and position in Africa, we can tap enormously from it if we do what is necessary. The market is big and the future is bright."

Daura, who is also the Director of Outsourcing at NITDA, said: “BPO can contribute billions of naira to the growth of the economy. India makes more money from BPO than what Nigeria makes in oil. You can imagine how much we can make from BPO (if well harnessed) because we have some advantages over India."

Uwaje says infrastructure challenge remains a stumbling block. “The challenges are more or less of the infrastructure; outsourcing is really facility management. It is core layer of skills; how do you manage the broadband connectivity, the security, the intellectual property."

"Outsourcing controls the intellectual property that resides within that environment; how do you manage it against theft from the internet servers? There are also challenges of opportunities, because you will not start outsourcing until there is power. That will be a misnomer. It is a knowledge economy and we must be there, especially now we have 110 million mobile phone carriers. We are in a mobile economy and have to be deep in outsourcing. There are various businesses coming from all over the world looking for outsourcing that will help them move on,” he said.


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