Tuesday, 6th December 2022
<To guardian.ng
Breaking News:

Diversifying economy through outsourcing

By Gloria Nwafor
27 July 2021   |   3:07 am
Fourteen years after the national outsourcing policy and institutional framework was constituted, the scheme is yet to take off.

Fourteen years after the national outsourcing policy and institutional framework was constituted, the scheme is yet to take off.


Nigeria currently has no national laws or specific national regulations that regulate outsourcing transactions.
Mostly, contracts are interpreted and governed by the common law of contract. 
To a large extent, English law has influenced some aspects of outsourcing transactions such as data privacy, confidentiality and labour law.  
Stakeholders believe that Nigeria, being the second-largest economy in Africa, should not be left behind in the outsourcing initiative train.
They argued that a viable outsourcing sector would assist in the diversification of Nigeria’s economic base.
They said for Nigeria to become more attractive in the outsourcing business and become a hub, it must review, without delay, the Nigerian National Outsourcing Policy and Institutional Framework 2007 document.
The policy document, which was unveiled by the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) as the regulator, they said, would propel the industry to play its proper role in the economy.
The need to properly place outsourcing was the fulcrum of this year’s stakeholders conference organised by members of the Association of Outsourcing Professionals of Nigeria (AOPN), with ‘Mainstreaming Outsourcing Through Strong Policies and Legal Structures’ as the theme.
Principal Partner, Samuel J.O and Associates/ Managing Partner, Lewis Partners Consulting, Jacqueline Odiadi, in her presentation, said a viable outsourcing sector would enable the nation to enjoy the benefits of free trade through lower cost, higher labour productivity and more efficiency.
She said the Federal Government must embark on an accelerated phase-by-phase implementation strategy, in which the outsourcing economy would first be developed to focus on onshore markets, and then proceed to near-shore markets and finally the global offshore market.
To successfully implement the National Initiative on Outsourcing, she maintained that there was a need for a strong collaborative effort between the government and the industry leaders in the private sector.
The role of the government in this initiative, according to her, is to provide the necessary incentive that would motivate both local and foreign entrepreneurs to invest in the sector of the economy.
The role of the private sector, she stated is to take advantage of the incentive programme and utilise its benefit in creating a new and vibrant sector of the economy.
She said in developing the local market and for Nigeria to move up from Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) to Knowledge Processing Outsourcing (KPO), it must first develop its local market to attract international investors who are looking to move up the value chain.
Odiadi said the government could provide a push to the industry by outsourcing services such as data entry for health, education and land records; establishing the three digits for emergency services and establishing a government information centre to provide information over the phone on the most essential public services. 
Such reforms, according to her, would go a long way to make Nigeria an attractive country to foreign investors, and would considerably help Nigeria’s efforts to develop a strong offshoring industry. 
President of AOPN, Dr Madu Obiora, noted that promoting standardisation and regulation of the sector is imperative for sectoral growth and international recognition.
Presently, according to him, there is no minimum entry point and this encourages mediocrity.
He argued that the professionalism of the sector to meet global standards is very critical and should be encouraged.
He mentioned how countries such as India and the Philippines recorded immense success because their governments played a critical role in ensuring that outsourcing thrived.

He commended NITDA on the public presentation of the draft copy of the new outsourcing policy, and called on industry participants to own the project and respond quickly to usher in a final document produced and owned by the industry with NITDA as the catalyst.
In her presentation, tagged ‘Optimising Business Model for Profitability’, Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Whyte Cleon Limited, ‘Nireti Adebayo, mentioned leadership, customer focus, people, innovation and change as factors affecting the ability of an enterprise to optimise the business model and enhance profitability.
She noted that no organisation could succeed without good people, even with the greatest technology.
She added that for organisations to succeed sustainably, the company’s people must be talented and well-trained, engaged, motivated, empowered and well rewarded, which must be merit-based.

Meanwhile, on the Nigerian Economic Outlook for 2022 and how it impacts the outsourcing industry, Managing Director, Cowry Asset Management Limited, Johnson Chukwu, said Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth rate is expected to remain low in 2022, which would further be impacted by 2023 election preparations.
He said the insecurity situation in the North would also affect the agricultural sector growth rate.
He said the interest rate is expected to continue its upward trajectory in the credit market, adding that it would be driven by continuous liquidity mop-up by the Central Bank Nigeria.