G.O.B Tries To Get The Economy Firing-On-All-Cylinders – Held First B.P.O Stakeholders Meeting

The government of Belize, John Briceno administration held its first BPO Stakeholders meeting, chaired by Prime Minister John Briceno.

The pro-business administration is trying to run the country on all cylinders firing, and recently we have all noticed the effort to attend to all sectors of the country’s economy.

In the past 4 weeks we’ve all witnessed (as the Min. of Agri, puts it) historic deals with Mexico, and a push to pure octane into the country’s agricultural sector, with grants for farmers and building the infrastructure to support an economy that is now off life-support and pushing bullishly ahead.

The BPO industry in Belize is a growing sector with some advantages and disadvantages when compared with regional competitors. According to government data, which was echoed by the prime minister, there are approximately 8,000 Belizeans employed in the BPO ‘business-process-outsourcing’ industry in Belize.

A government’s statement about the gathering said that it was,
“The first-of-its-kind meeting providing an outlet for BPO stakeholders to express concerns, detail challenges and make further policy recommendations. and that there were representatives from 20 companies that have a steak or investment interest in Belize’s BPO industry”.

What is BPO
The acronym BPO, stands for ‘Business-Process-Outsourcing’, and the industry is all about providing customer-services via call-center agents that respond via text, voice (VOIP), WhatsApp, email or other internet means. Those services are typically provided for corporations in the U.S and Canada.

Some of the largest BPO providers in the world are in India, Malaysia, China and the Philippines. They are typically owned by an American company that get contracts from U.S corporations; those corporations can save a lot on labor cost by outsourcing the ‘Business-Process of Customer Services’, due to the lower wages paid in other countries.

Belize’s primary advantage in that industry is that ‘English is our main language’.

However, an economy too dependent on BPO’s is similar to an economy based on Tourism, it is very cyclical, and the foreign owners are in full control of how the industry is governed; where they do very profitable business and get paid 5 times the minimum wage of most countries where the services are physically provided or ( where labor is sold),

Currently Belize’s minimum wage is $1.65 USD, and BPO’s provide services to their clients for a minimum of $10.50US/hr. OR BULK RATE / per minutes of services provided.

When Belize’s minimum wage is gradually increased to US$2.50/hour, the BPO’s will still do very well. The BPO industry is an extremely profitable business that is poorly regulated in most countries.

A survey of several BPO call-center-employees indicate that they are paid $4.50Bz, $5.00Bz. and $5.50Bz. / hr. and some BPO’s in Belize pay up to $7/hr. for technically skilled call-agents, but that is only $3.50USD/hr. and the media must keep a watchful eye on the government’s efforts to create a very pro-investment and business climate, whilst also creating ‘pro, good-paying-jobs’ for Belizeans.