The Minister of Communications Technology, Mrs. Omobola Johnson has faulted the outsourcing of operations generated locally to foreign companies under the Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) arrangement.
According to the minister, local companies in Nigeria have the capacities and skilled manpower to handle outsourcing within and outside Nigeria, even though Nigeria is not regarded as a destination country for BPO.
She insisted that it would be a disservice to Nigeria, if local operations are outsourced to foreign companies that are established outside the country.
Johnson, who stated this in Lagos, while inspecting the operations of Communications Network Support Services Limited (CNSSL), a local BPO company with over 6,000 employees, said she was impressed with the facilities and manpower of the company. The minister told THISDAY that CNSSL has all it takes to operate outsourced services in Nigeria and still offer such services outside Nigeria, noting that it would be out of place if local BPO companies are not given the chance to do what they are capable of doing.
Johnson said Nigeria has local content agenda (LCA), which dwells so much on local content implementation.
According to her, the LCA was introduced was because the government discovered that multinationals were taking over businesses in Nigeria. Although she said multinationals doing business in Nigeria is not bad, she added that there is the need to protect and support the growth of local companies through policy implementation, and the LCA would address all of that.
“The truth is that if we must create jobs and develop Nigeria to the level it should be, then we must grow successful and sustainable local industries. China, Germany and Japan are doing well today because they have over the years, developed their local industries, making them to contribute substantially to Gross Domestic Products (GDP),”Johnson said.
Speaking on the operations of CNSSL, the Chief Executive Officer of the company, Mr. Gbenga Adebayo, said the company had been in operation since 2007, servicing the telecoms, oil & gas, banking & finance sectors of the economy, as well as state governments.
According to him, CNSSL has been managing the operations of these companies and states, through call centre operations in some parts of the country that are driving the initiative.
He however called for government policies and regulations that would protect local BPO companies since Nigeria has no such policies in place.
Adebayo said: “We are one of the local pioneers of BPO in Nigeria. When we started operations in 2007, most people thought we will not be able to deliver, but today our call centre operations are so standardised that local companies now patronise us, and international companies want to have a stake in it, which of course will increase foreign direct investments (FDI) and boost knowledge transfer. However good this may sound, there is a threat about the foreign interest, since BPO destination countries that are mostly foreign are now coming up to say that the local companies in Nigeria are not supposed to do outsourcing and that the BPO business should be carried out by the foreigners alone because it is their trade since they have the international expertise and technology.”
Adabayo stated that should this be allowed, it will expose local companies to a lot of vulnerabilities, since Nigeria has no policy protecting local BPO companies.