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Decentralise Business Process Outsourcing Centres: Faiyaz Koya

Business process outsourcing (BPO) centres should be decentralised from Suva, Minister for Commerce, Trade, Tourism and Transport, Faiyaz Koya said yesterday. His remarks followed a tour of three BPO centres
08 Apr 2021 10:20
Decentralise Business Process Outsourcing Centres: Faiyaz Koya
Minister for Commerce, Trade Tourism and Transport Faiyaz Koya listens in as Centrecom’s French reservations consultant Taina Bobo handles a call for Air Tahiti Nui. Photo: Frederica Elbourne.

Business process outsourcing (BPO) centres should be decentralised from Suva, Minister for Commerce, Trade, Tourism and Transport, Faiyaz Koya said yesterday.

His remarks followed a tour of three BPO centres in Suva to discuss shortcomings and challenges faced by the sector which the Government could help with.

Mr Koya’s visit to Centrecom, Greymouse and Packleader preludes his tour of the call centres at Valelelvu, which is scheduled for a later date.

The visits to BPO centres was a Government effort to raise awareness on the sector.

 

Centrecom
During his first stop at Centrecom along Thomson Street, Mr Koya discussed setting up similar opportunities for the West.

He said decentralising BPO services to the Western Division was cost effective because such a move offered a better quality of life, the ability for workers to buy into residential properties, and even live where rent was cheaper.

“Not everything has to be Suva-centric,” Mr Koya said speaking with Centercom general manager, Carol Watkins.

Centrecom employs 150 locals and is co-owned by Fiji Airways.

The company handles back office operations for corporate aviation clients including oneworld, and recently secured Air Tahiti Nui.

Centrecom is also contracted to the Government of Malta.

Minister for Commerce, Trade, Tourism and Transport Faiyaz Koya on tour at Packleader in Suva. Photo: Frederica Elbourne.

Minister for Commerce, Trade, Tourism and Transport Faiyaz Koya on tour at Packleader in Suva. Photo: Frederica Elbourne.

 

Free trial
The company is carrying out a two-week trial, free of costs, for the Ministry of Lands where it has received an influx in volumes of enquiries, Mrs Watkins said.

Mrs Watkins is president of the Business Process Outsourcing council, and said there were some global calls for larger infrastructure to be in place to cater for as many as 1000 seats.

The sector employs around 4000 people, where the average worker is 20 years of age.

“There are certain things that need to be tended to, such as what universities and schools can offer,” Mr Koya said.

He suggested introducing other languages in the education curricular as an opening of another new area for the BPO field.

“The upskilling of Fijians who are coming out of school; the curriculum also, that’s also been addressed.”

 

Greymouse, Packleader
Mr Koya visited Greymouse at Stewart Street, which deals mainly with BPO services for the information technology and personal assistance fields.

Greymouse, an Australian-owned call centre, has a branch in Phillipines and Brisbane.

Its Fiji operations has continued successfully over the past 15 years, where the company employs 35 wokers.

Meanwhile, at Packleader in Laucala Beach, Mr Koya learnt that Fiji was not widely known to offer BPO services.

“We’ve been trying to encourage more centres like this,” he said while speaking with Packleader general manager Luke Wyley.

Mr Wyley said the company had secured a new client – National Roof Care – which was expected to roll out its services to the Pacific.

National Roof Care’s business model stood to gain from the adverse Pacific weather conditions, through unique roofing services, Mr Wyley said.

 

Diversify from tourism
Mr Koya said special economic zones could serve as a hub for BPO operations.

“We want to grow this area.”

“It was nice to get the thoughts of all staff about shortcomings or what we can do in the BPO sector.”

“Budget time is coming so there are ideas they may want to present.”

Mr Koya said Fiji needed to diversity other industries, and to stop being largely dependent on tourism.

“Of course we want tourism to come back and grow, but we must grow other industries, and this is one of them,” he said.

“We’ve always been looking at this area.”

Fiji’s neutral English accent was an advantage against the rest of the world, Mr Koya said.

“This business is dealing with customers from around the world international.”

 

Feedback: frederica.elbourne@fijisun.com.fj



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