The Australian High Commissioner to Fiji, Mr. John Feakes;
Executive Chairman of Bula Outsourcing, Mr. Clive Kirkpatrick;
Members of the Bula Executive Board;
The CEO, Ms. Josie Prasad;
Ladies and Gentlemen.
Bula Vinaka and a very good evening to you all.
Business Process Outsourcing is already playing a part in our efforts to diversify the Fijian Economy to grow it, to make it more resilient and competitive and, to create the kinds of jobs that our people want. And that is because BPO, as we like to call it, takes advantage of some of this country’s greatest assets.
What are those assets? Well, first of all, we have a skilled, young, literate, English-speaking and tech-savvy workforce. We have access to solid digital infrastructure available at affordable rates. We are in the right time zone – the only country where the 180-degree meridian makes land fall. We Fijians, I am told, have neutral accents easily understood by an Aussie, Kiwi, Brit or American.
We have a stable business environment that has produced consistent strong economic growth through consistent policy making for a nine-year period, prior to the pandemic. And the pandemic didn’t stop us; we are growing once again. All of these are ingredients for a successful BPO industry.
Bula outsourcing began its operations during the pandemic, which surely demonstrates its confidence in Fiji—in our world-class ICT infrastructure, our policies, our competitive business costs and our people and of course our attractive tax incentives. In fact, you are lucky to have registered the name “Bula” because it is part of our Fijian brand – owned by all Fijians. I am sure the Minister responsible for the companies office would like to have a discussion on this.
Ladies and Gentlemen, in February of this year, we joined with the Business Process Outsourcing Council to launch a new international brand that we call “Outsource Fiji.” Our aim is to create an identity for Fiji as a preferred destination for businesses to outsource their services.
We know we have all the right elements for a successful BPO sector, but we are competing with other countries for this business. So we have to promote Fiji as an outsourcing destination, just as we promote it as a tourist destination. Government has provided an annual marketing grant of $200,000 to the BPO Council to promote Fiji as an ideal BPO destination, and we will continue to provide attractive tax incentives for the industry as well as support the development of dedicated IT and BPO parks.
Success breeds success, and we will attract more investors in the BPO sector as our fame spreads. And as companies begin to appreciate the high-quality and efficient work of Fiji’s BPO companies, more of them will decide to outsource their business processes here.
I think we can all be pleased to know that four new players entered Fiji’s BPO space in 2021, in the midst of the pandemic, and the existing companies experienced growth in the same year.
Ladies and Gentlemen, I cannot understate the potential the BPO sector has for Fiji, particularly in providing employment, especially for our young people.
The BPO sector currently employs more than 7,000 Fijians and has the potential to generate about 100,000 jobs in the next 10 years.
Ladies and Gentlemen, the support we give to the BPO sector is reaping rewards, and the proof is right here with Bula Outsourcing. The executives and staff of Bula Outsourcing have taken the company – a staff of 10 when it was established last year – to a staff of 70 today. And there is something very important behind those numbers: confidence and trust. The staff has increased because the business has increased. And the business has increased because you have satisfied customers who trust you. That trust in you is also trust in Fiji and in the Fijians who work at this Company. And all of that has a way of creating exponential growth.
So thank you and congratulations, Bula Outsourcing— Clive, Josie and all the members of your family. And congratulations for being a company that gives back to the community.
Even in your first year, you made it a part of your business to support worthy causes. I encourage you to expand your charitable initiatives to complement my Government’s continuous efforts to empower Fijians, in particular, those on the margins of society.
Ladies and Gentlemen, I now have the pleasure of formally opening the Bula Outsourcing head office in Suva, and as I do so, I want to wish the company great success and impressive growth within a growing and dynamic Fijian BPO sector.