FULL TEXT OF HONOURABLE MINISTER OF COMMUNICATIONS SPEECH AT BUSINESS PROCESS OUTSOURCING EVENT IN LAGOS

MINISTRY OF COMMUNICATIONS

ADDRESS BY

 BARRISTER ABDUR-RAHEEM ADEBAYO SHITTU

HONOURABLE MINISTER OF COMMUNICATIONS

AS SPECIAL GUEST OF HONOUR

AT THE

 6TH EDITION OF THE 2017 OUTSOURCING EXPO

AT THE

LAGOS ORIENTAL HOTEL, LAGOS

 8TH JUNE 2017

PROTOCOLS:

I am delighted to be invited to this forum as a Special Guest, to address this momentous gathering of versatile professionals on the occasion of this 6thedition of the ‘2017 Outsourcing Expo’ themed “Setting Global Standards for Outsourcing in Nigeria”.

Business Process Outsourcing (BPO),as you are all aware,is an emerging green-field activity in Nigeria. It has the potentials to grow the nation’s economy by more than 10% and create an estimated 1,000,000 jobs alone, if well harnessed.

To harness the potentials, it is pertinent we have to do what we are supposed to do – opening up the sub-sector for business activities to flourish. And to open up the industry, we must first provide proper guidelines that would regulatethe conduct of the players which, to my mind, is the import of the theme of this conference.

Incidentally, just a few weeks ago, the Federal Government launched three Executive Orders, one of which is on Ease of doing Business – Executive Order 001 (EO1) which is the most relevant to what we are trying to do here today.I am therefore obliged to acknowledge the aptness of this theme and the timely prosecution of this conference; and to commend the organizers of this event for a well-thought-out agenda at this critical moment of our national economic recovery drive.

It is also instructive to note that, Nigeria’s collaboration with South Korea for adoption and implementation of e-Governance in Nigeria is on its final lap of the race. It has an e-Government Master Plan which is now before the Federal Executive Council for approval to serve as the national working document to guide the process. As soon as it is approved, e-Governance activities will commence in earnest and in the process, business outsourcing opportunities will begin to emerge, the very reason why setting standards for the BPOsub-sector at this material time has become even more imperative.

Setting Global Standards for any activity involves provision of  level playing field through a very focused Policy, Regulation and Legal Frame works which are developed through elaborate consultations with all stakeholders and factoring in ‘Global Best Practices’ to guide the conduct of the activity. In this vein, it is my honour to announce to you that the Ministry had just inaugurated a committee to review the ‘2012 National ICT Policy’.  This is aimed at updating and capturing hitherto neglected areas such as the BPOand some recent developments in the sector to make it current and in tune with realities of the changes taking place in the sector.

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The work of the committee is still at ministerial level. When a draft ‘Reviewed Policy Document’ is produced, we will engage critical stakeholders and then put the document in the public domain for possible criticism, comments and contributions. At this stage, I enjoin you to join hands with the Ministry so that together we can develop the appropriate policy guidelines and standards for the ICT sector and the BPO industry in particular.

Ladies and Gentlemen, lest I forget, late last year a similar forum with the theme “Outsourcing, a Catalyst for Change in Nigeria” took place at Shehu Musa Y’ar Adua Center, Abuja. That forum was organized by the Nigeria Association of Information Technology Enabled Outsourcing Companies (NAITEOC) in collaboration with the Office of the Vice President, the Federal Ministry of Communications, NITDA and other stakeholders.

During one of the sessions, I was prompted to make a response on the impact of the conference which I described as an eye opener and a source of inspiration. I then challenged the organizers and their foreign collaborators, the World BPO Forum, to work out a strategic plan and all other necessary requirements for the take-off and sustainable development of the BPO sector in Nigeria, including the role government is expected to play, and submit the proposal to the Ministry for consideration. I assured them of the support, buy-in, political will and commitment of government to champion the cause of BPO in Nigeria.

This declaration is not a mere political statement but the will of the present administration, a serious minded administration, committed to do what it stands for – leaving no stone unturned in efforts to turn around the economy, improve security and create more job opportunities for the youths. Persistently, I maintain my posture and extend the same challenge to you with an additional responsibility to work hand in hand with your entire sister organizations/associations and come up with a blue print strategy document for launching and sustainable development of BPO market in Nigeria for consideration of government.

I reiterate government’s support, political will and determination to implement your recommendations for the opening up and flourishing of the BPO industryin Nigeria is guaranteed.

So, the ball is now in your court. The future of BPO industry in Nigeria is now in your hands. You may choose to make or mar the prospects of the industry. If you act quickly, you brighten the future. But if you delay, you retard and darken the future.

With this, I wish to once again say, thank you for inviting and listening to me.

I wish you happy deliberations

 

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