The IT/BPO industry in Sri Lanka has escalated to become the 5th largest export earner according to the EDB “Export Value Survey” which formulates the IT industry contribution to the national economy in the export earnings sector. The survey was executed by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) summoned by the EDB and the industry ICT advisory committee.
The 1st ever study about IT export earnings, goes on to analyze the total export revenue from Information Technology/ Information Technology Enabled Services (IT/ITES) in 2007 was 213 Million US$, with an annual growth of 23%, compared to the 173 Million US$ in 2006.
Ranjith Fernando Chairman SLASSCOM said, “Industry achieved this feat within a very short period of less than 10 years of exports. With the war ending and the global economy about to pick up, IT/BPO industry is poised to be the number one export earner during the next 5 years”
The report carried out between April – October 2008 states IT/BPO has the highest revenue per employee, USD 11,000 and is rated as the number one for return on capital employed. It has forecasted the potential of bringing in US$ 1 billion in exports within 5-7 years and creating more 70,000 direct jobs.
IT/BPO industry presents Sri Lanka with a tremendous opportunity for sustainable economic growth in manner which is unprecedented. The value addition of service experts from the IT/BPO industry is near 100%. The industry is based on knowledge workers and creates high paying jobs for educated youth. Each job in IT/BPO industry creates 3-4 other indirect jobs in the economy. This large employment multiplier effect creates significant economic impact by way of employment creation. IT/BPO industry is based on electronic exports and doesn’t depend on physical logistics services such as shipping. Therefore the IT/BPO industry has significant potential to drive regional development as the industry picks up and moves to regional centers. The industry is also has near zero negative impact on the environment.
Several other countries who have made IT/BPO industry a national priority has build significant wealth and employment in their countries. Sri Lankan can gain a cue from countries like Egypt and Philippines, who are in the early stages of building a world class IT/BPO industry.
“The opportunity for Sri Lanka is significant and this is the ideal time for us to accelerate our national focus. We must focus on market development and capacity enhancement as priority actions. SLASSCOM has already taken number of steps in this direction to drive the growth of the industry and we are very excited about the potential and the opportunity for Sri Lanka.” said Madu Ratnayake, General Secretary of SLASSCOM.
The cost arbitrage associated with global sourcing of ICT services has been the driver of growth for outsourcing destinations in Asia. Sri Lanka has been recognized as an emerging outsourcing destination for key functions and specialized services. The advantages include increasing availability of highly skilled professionals and comparative cost and qualitative advantages relating to infrastructure and workforce.