Tuesday, February 10, 2015

By Glenis Rose February 7, 2015

Minister of State for Industry, Investment and Commerce, Hon. Sharon Ffolkes-Abrahams, said the Government is working to increase employment in the Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) sector to 24,000 in the short-term.

“The growth of this industry is very rapid and can be further ramped-up very quickly to provide more jobs for the people of western Jamaica,” she said.

The State Minister was addressing a special briefing on Friday (February 5), at the Western Offices of the Prime Minister in Montego Bay,

She noted that the BPO sector has been making a positive impact in western Jamaica, providing employment for some 14,500 persons.

“I am pleased to say that in Montego Bay, we have a robust BPO industry worth US$260 million, most of it concentrating in the Montego Bay Free Zone area, where we currently have 35 entities operating and providing work for over 14,500 employees,” she said.

The Montego Bay Free Zone provides services to a range of business operators in garment, electronic assembling and warehousing, among others.

Garment manufacturing serves customers across three continents and caters to the intimate apparel niche sector.

Mrs. Ffolkes-Abrahams informed that the number of BPO employees in the free zone reached the over 7,000 mark for the first time in April 2014. There were 223 new workers between January and November 2014, reflecting a marginal increase of 3.23 per cent over the corresponding period in 2013.

She informed that another new investor, Fleming Conference, commenced operations in August 2014 and has been doing very well since then, recording impressive growth.

As it relates to the welfare of the workers, she informed that Columbus Business Solutions has sponsored a new Engagement Centre in the free zone to provide recreational facility for employees.

In addition, Caribbean Maritime Institute (CMI) will be providing training to support the existing programmes being executed by the HEART Trust/NTA.

“As Member of Parliament for West Central St. James (where the free zone is located), I will be allocating money from my funds in support of this training and development,” the State Minister pledged.

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