eT Edgenews 6? With Jide Adeleke, Head of business development at WhyteCleon
What’s your view on outsourcing in Nigeria?
Outsourcing as a practice is still growing. Outsourcing is a new concept so most firms are still trying to get used to the idea. Outsourcing enables organisations to focus on their core areas and leave HR issues to organisation like ours to look into. Those that do outsourcing aren’t doing it the way it should be done. In respect to statistics on data, we can’t say much, this is because it is a new concept and we are trying to get used to it and also collate data in respect to outsourcing space in Nigeria. One thing is that outsourcing gives staff a sense of ownership and most staff know that they are coming from a reputable outsourcing firm, it makes things easier.
How can Nigeria share in global outsourcing space like Mauritius and Singapore?
This should be a government initiative. As of now, the Ministry of Labour is championing this cause. Today there is a rule that all BPO and outsourcing firms must be registered with the Ministry. Though they have not started enforcing it yet, but most outsourcing firms are becoming compliant with this directive and it is also a window where the Nigerian state will regulate the outsourcing space. This is a new concept and we are getting gradually acquainted with this. We have the human capacity; all we have to do is upgrade our training capacity so that we can be globally compliant and be able to compete in global outsourcing market. Today, every outsourcing firm must have a license.
With the problems associated with skills development and human capacity, do you think that we can compete globally?
We have the mental capacity and that is why many organisations spend so much upgrading their fresh graduate-employees because Nigerian universities do not give the graduates the prerequisite skill for the labour market. So we can’t rule away the issue of skills.
How can your organisation leverage on an event like this?
The key thing that made us to be here is to make outsourcing known and let people know that outsourcing is here and has come to stay. This is the major thing that we are here for. There is a mini exhibition of outsourcing firms and that is why we are partnering with the organisers. We are also to brainstorm on the best way to ensure that outsourcing is done and how we can take outsourcing to a greater height.
How much of ICT is integrated into your business and how will you address outsourcing as the cause of high level of casualisation in Nigeria?
We can say that we are looking into those specialized areas of outsourcing that services the ICT sector, but as it is today, we are basically into the financial sector but very soon we will be in the ICT space. That outsourcing is a causative factor for casualisation is a big misconception. That is where there is a misconception and outsourcing is different from casualisation, what you should know is that our staff are pensionable and casual workers are not pensionable.
How have you been able to penetrate other African markets?
The major reason of unemployment in Nigeria is basically that firms in Nigerian are running away from administrative issues. They prefer a third party to do that on their behalf. For now we have office in Kenya and we are moving to other countries in Africa. People are embracing outsourcing. Outsourcing takes a lot of burden off the organisations
Getting it right on BPO/Outsourcing
The Nigerian BPO/Outsourcing market is valued by operators at some N1.5 billion. In Mauritius the market is projected to generate some $1.12bn in 2017, according to a 2011 analysis by consulting firm Frost & Sullivan. These figures make Nigeria’s BPO/Outsourcing presence both miserable and revealing of the official poor attention paid this veritable sector with high potential to boost the country’s GDP. Since India and the Philippines proved to be attractive destinations for “global sourcing, a host of nations – mostly emerging/ developing – have sprung up either as credible alternatives to these traditional locations, or as new locations for “seemingly” new value-based provisioning of IT and business process services.” Ghana, Kenya and South Africa held out the early promises tone become new destinations, but Mauritius proved to be a remarkable success having met the market conditions to provide right infrastructure, right policy/legislation, right economic/tax incentives, and right global political behaviour. In all of these, Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country is ‘sufficiently’ lacking. The result: While we are still grappling with the periphery of entering the BPO/Outsourcing space, traditional destinations such as India and Philippine are already gearing up and reinventing to move up into the more lucrative and high-end Knowledge Process Outsourcing (KPO). The ICT/BPO market is expanding both in value and focus to include more high-value added services such as “financial process outsourcing, legal process outsourcing, human resources business process outsourcing, knowledge process outsourcing, computer drafting and engineering design, healthcare, data management, medical transcription outsourcing and clinical outsourcing. The industry has successfully provided traditional outsourcing services and is now moving towards these high-value and knowledge-intense activities.” Where does that leave us a country? We need to do the minimal in provisioning the right frameworks from legislation to backbone technology to right global perception.