Outsourcing Fiji

LAUNCHING OF THE BPO COUNCIL OF FIJI

Hon. Faiyaz Siddiq Koya
Minister for Commerce, Trade, Tourism and Transport

We can be the Pacific's Outsourcing Hub, says Minister Koya

As we celebrate the launch of the BPO Council of Fiji, we mark a new era in providing the sector an opportunity to collectively work together with the Fijian Government and position ourselves as the BPO hub of the region.

One of our greatest strengths as a modern economy is the develop- ment of call centres and outsourcing because it uses our greatest resource — our people. To put this into perspective, close to 5,000 Fijians, representative of a young workforce, are currently employed in the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and BPO sectors, which contribute approximately 10% towards Fiji’s GDP.

Fiji checks key boxes

We are placed in a very strong position with ex- cellent 4T and telecommu- nications infrastructure and competitive wage and salary rates. We also have an educated and accent neutral English-speaking work force, a cost effective near shore location and a convenient time zone area.

These enabling factors check key boxes that our neighboring markets, Australia and New Zealand require. So essentially, it positions us in place to tell investors – ‘Fiji’s is your destination for doing business and your gateway to other regional markets’.

Apart from having a rich pool of talent, the Fijian Government has worked strategically to position Fiji as a lucrative location for BPO operations, offering attractive investment incentives. As far as our ICT preparedness goes, we have provided digital infrastructure for Fijians and Fijian businesses to do business online.

Fiji going for top 50

Initiative such as digitalFIJI and bizFIJI, which are part of our digital transformational agenda, is empowering Fijians to be connected to the Fijian Governments e-services, a step forward from the traditional practice of providing assistance. We’ve taken pro-active steps to remove administrative burdens and reduce bureaucratic obstacles to fast track approval process — especially for micro, small and medium entrprises.

Over the recent months, the Fijian Government has implemented pivotal reforms in the area of starting a business. We’ve even removed business licensing.

We’ve set ambitious targets which includes our target of being ranked in the top 50 countries in doing business by 2025 and to be preceded by a mid-term target of 75 in the Doing Business 2023 Report.

'Plug and Play' approach

Partnership will play a critical role in creating investable opportuni ties and in meeting our commitment to develop Fiji as a services hub of the Pacific. This is why we’re working with the private sector on the Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in Navutu Lautoka, which will primarily focus on, creating opportunities in the BPO sector.

The SEZ will have in place all the necessary supporting infrastructure and utilities to facilitate custom demands of poten- tial investors through its Plug-and-Play” approach, thus providing seamless business opportunity.

Creating industries of the future

The Fijian economy was heavily dependent on the tourism sector, which contributes 40% towards Fiji’s GDP. Owing to the Coronavirus pandemic and the closing of international borders, this sector is now near a standstill.

We have undertaken extensive sectoral and one-on-one consultations, with industry stakeholders to draw the parameters of our recovery. Our recovery is guided by key pillars of socio-economic sustenance. And one of the ways we intend tp achieve this by diversifying and expanding manufacturing base, and establishing industries of the future, like IT and BPO. Looking at the current global trend, whilst the BPO/ICT industry has also been impacted, it also has the ability to easily diversify into and work towards reviving our economy.

Fiji is well positioned

Fiji is well placed in terms of resources and facilities readily available for businesses to start operations. We are well positioned to attract BPO investments, starting from the lower end and moving up the value chain. This is evident as we have managed to secure our position by attracting renowned BPO investors to reposition their back office processing in Fiji.

In order to achieve the status of the true hub of the Pacific, we need to focus on our potential and capitalise on the opportunities available.

Courses on BPO

My Ministry has been working very closely with the BPO Council since 2018, when it was in the early stages of formation. In the 2019-2020 Financial Year National budget, grant of $50,000 was given to the BPO Council.

Since then, the Ministry, Investment Fiji and the BPO Council have been working closely on the establishment of the Council. Today, our efforts are doubling. In fact, we are currently working with tertiary institutions in Fiji to get BPO related courses introduced into their curriculum.

We want to ensure that Fijians have the right skills to be readily employed. Fiji is privileged to have a 96% literacy rate which puts us in a favorable position in comparison to other competing, countries which provide BPO services.

Government offers Tax Incentives

The Fijian Government, as announced in the 2020- 2021 National Budget, is committed to steering Fiji towards economic recovery through incentives such as: eliminating business licensing, introducing tax cuts targeted at businesses and households, across-the-board reductions in customs tariffs and streamlining of processes.

All of which will improve the ease of doing business in Fiji, making us one of the most competitive des- tinations for businesses.

Join the BPO Council

Coming back to today’s event, it is time to show our appreciation and support for the Fijian BPO industry. I strongly encourage other, BPO companies to join the Council and make use of this platform to support the advancement of your industry.

In an effort to connect Fijian BPO service providers to International markets, Id like to congratulate the BPO Council, for their combined determination in showcasing Fiji as a highly attractive investment destination for outsourcing.

I also encourage other BPO companies to take advantage of the investment incentives Fiji has to offer and businesses to consider outsourcing their back office operations to these companies.

John Feakes

H.E. John Feakes
Australian High Commisioner to Fiji

Putting Fiji on Outsourcing Destination Map - High Commissioner Feakes

Australia remains committed to working with Fiji to find effective ways of dealing with the impacts of COVID-19. Our Vuvale partnership encompasses a shared ambition for the strong economic recovery of Fiji and Australia post COVID-19, and we recognise the private sector will play an es- sential role in bringing this into fruition.

Australia stands ready to support Fiji’s Government to “build back better” by strengthening future economic drivers such as the Business Process Outsourcing, or ‘BPO sector’.

The BPO Council of Fiji, as the industry’s representative body, will play an instrumental role in working with its members to put Fiji on the map as an outsourcing destination. The current COVID-19 pandemic has created renewed interest by Australian firms looking to bring some of their outsourced services from Asia closer to home, and Fiji provides an ideal near-shore location in the Pacific.

This opportunity will provide for further Fiji-Australia business links and drive future economic collabora- tion between our two countries.

This opportunity will provide for further Fiji-Australia business links and drive future economic collaboration between our two countries.

In this regard, the Australian government is committing FJD100, 000 through the Market Development Facility to support the resourcing and activities of the BPO Council.

MDF in Fiji has been steadfast over this difficult time, responding to the impacts of COVID-19 through a series of interventions with local industry — including the facilitation of local production of hand sanitiser and face shields, and supporting local food delivery and logistics for agricultural producers. Fijian business people are known for their innovation and resourcefulness, and I am excited that Australia can play its part in supporting their endeavours through exposure to new technologies and business practices. We stand ready to support the Fiji Government in realising the potential of the country to become a key Outsourcing  Destination.

Ms. Carol Watkins
BPOCouncil of Fiji President

Fiji positions itself as Outsourcing Destination

The BPO Council Fiji is determined to create awareness about the Fiji brand as the preferred Outsourcing Destination, targeting in particular those in financial services, insurance claims processing, accounting back office services, debt recovery, IT help desk services, outbound  telemarketing and in-bound multi-channel customer support in Australia and New Zealand.

Currently, there are some 3000 people working in the outsourcing sector in Fiji, with estimated annual earnings of $90 million for the country. The BPO Council currently estimates that if we continue to create market awareness for our brand and invest in our infrastructure to get us to the level where banking services can be outsourced to Fiji, then the Industry could possibility see the creation of approximately 15,000 new jobs in the next 5 years which would take the earnings for the sector to over $500 million per year.

 

  • Education and Training
    The BPO Council together with the Ministry is lobbying tertiary institutions to add Contact Centre courses to their curriculum that are accredited to Australia and New Zealand standards.

    We are also interested in increasing the focus on artificial intelligence to ensure that teaching material is aligned with the world’s demands today.
  • Incentives and Policy
    We had have some success in the area of Incentives and Policy, where restrictions that previously existed to qualify for the 13 Year tax holiday were removed by Government last year. In last year’s budget also, the license fee required for BPOs was removed as well.

    The Council is also lobbying for separate legislation to protect the industry and is also seeking tax incentives for investors that provide infrastructure and support for the Industry.

  • Infrastructure

    Having an ICT infrastructure that is reliable and affordable is key to our line of business, and the Council will also work with key stakeholders to provide tailored solutions for the BPO sector. Whilst Fiji has made significant improvements in the infrastructure provided, we will need to ensure that our infrastructure is on par with Australia and New Zealand if we are to compete for banking work. Furthermore, in terms of building infrastructure the BPO Council believes growth is scalable with Major Business Park investments planned in the Kalabu Tax Free Zone (developed by the Lyndhurst Group) and Navutu Lautoka (developed by FNPF). It is also important to note that under infrastructure, reliability of electricity supply is critical to the success of the Industry.

  • Quality and Certification
    To get more recognition on the world stage the Council will be lobbying for funding to provide assistance to members of the BPO Council for certification like ISO COPC Certification. Having certification such as these will go a long way towards providing credibility for the Industry in Fiji.

  • Marketing and Branding

    The Council has prioritised the action items under this area mainly because of the immediate need to create awareness for Fiji as an Outsourcing Destination on the world stage as most organisations offshore looking to outsource are unaware that Fiji provides these services. To date we have finalised the logo and branding for the Council and we have secured funding from the Australian Government to allow us to hire a Business Development Manager based in Australia who will work with members of the Council to develop a marketing plan and generate qualified leads for members. A firm with extensive experience in this area in Australia has been selected by the Council together with MDF and is expected to start in the role as early as next week.

The success of the launch were also featured in the following articles...

Ministry of Commerce, Trade, Tourism and Transport (Facebook Page)

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Ministry of Commerce, Trade, Tourism and Transport (Website)

Hon. Minister Faiyaz Koya’s Speech for BPO Council of Fiji – Launch

H.E. John Feakes, Australian High Commissioner to Fiji,
H.E Jonathan Curr, New Zealand High Commissioner to Fiji,
The United States (U.S.) Acting Deputy Chief of Mission to Fiji, Ms Allison Dyess,
Ms Carol Watkins, Chair of the BPO Council of Fiji,
Representatives of the BPO Council of Fiji,…

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