industry-news

BPO sector steps up efforts to attract more investments, improve performance

The IT and Business Process Association of the Philippines (IBPAP) plans to do midyear reviews of the industry starting next year, evaluating industry players’ performance in terms of revenue and head count.

This is expected to allow the industry a chance to “self-correct” if needed, IBPAP president and CEO Rey Untal said.
Untal told reporters that this would be a departure from the current practice of conducting a review at the end of the year.

He said there was a need “to become smart and practical” amid unpredictable developments.

“What we have right now is a yearly reckoning. That’s one of the things I’m trying to work out. Let’s have a middle of the year assessment. We shouldn’t learn about how we did revenue-wise and headcount-wise when the year is almost over,” he said.

This initiative comes as new investment infusions into the IT-BPM industry have been slow, with investment pledges registered in seven investment promotion agencies in the first quarter, dropping 34 percent to P4.18 billion from P6.34 billion in the same period last year, according to the Philippine Statistics Authority.

Untal has attributed this decline “to a certain extent to not what’s happening now but what’s happened before,” citing President Rodrigo Duterte’s anti-western rhetoric last year as example.

“In our job, there is a performance evaluation. You need a performance evaluation that is more frequent. We need to understand that the industry is very big. To gather these numbers takes some effort,” he added.

A more frequent review would help show if the industry is on track to reaching its targets, especially amid proposals in the administration’s comprehensive tax reform program which would remove some of the perks that make the local industry competitive in terms of costs.

The IT-BPM industry, seen as one of the pillars of the modern economy, targets to hit $38.9 billion in revenue in 2022 after reaching $22.9 billion last year. It is also considered the largest private sector employer, currently with 1.15 million direct employees. The workforce is expected to reach 1.8 million in 2022.

Moreover, Untal said IBPAP was in the middle of a “country branding exercise” in a bid to attract more investments into the Philippines, which is currently the third most attractive business process outsourcing destination in the world, although it previously ranked second to India.

He said IBPAP did a trade mission in Australia and Japan in May. There would be another trade mission, he said, in Canada in the latter part of the year.

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