BPOs want perks to stay

Call and contact centers asked for a status quo on fiscal incentives amid the emergence of new services that threaten the voice sector.

The Contact Center Association of the Philippines expressed fears a proposal to eliminate the income tax holiday from the list of incentives would erode the achievements of the industry and contribute to its decline.

“We just need to be heard. [The proposed amendments may] spoil growth in the job creation story,” CCAP president Benedict Hernandez said in a press briefing during  a business conference held at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City.

Call centers registered with the Philippine Economic Zone Authority enjoy an income tax holiday of four to six years on top of other incentives.

The group noted that even if the government reduced the corporate income tax by a third to 10 percent over a period of 15 years, contact centers were pleased with an income tax holiday of six years.

“There are a lot of countries giving better and bigger incentives. Ours is not of the best package yet. We don’t want to have it worse,” Hernandez said.

Everest Group, a leading global management consultancy firm, said the Philippines remained that top destination for voice services, accounting for 36 percent of the total outsourced services in the world.

Global outsourcing is expected to continue to grow rapidly in the next few years from about $350 billion.

Twenty percent of the total global worth of contact services or about $75 billion is outsourced to countries like the Philippines.

Voice remains the top support services at 90 percent followed by non-voice like email and chat. Non-voice services, however, are gaining ground with more companies requiring them.

Everest urged the Philippines to maximize its footprint by strengthening the non-voice capability. Investments are also necessary to elevate skills and talent.

CCAP expects in the first quarter an initial fresh investments of P500 million from three Australian companies that expressed interest to expand to the Philippines.

The investment will involve as much as 2,000 seats initially, with potential for expansion once they passed the “proof of concept stage” within six months.

One of the companies is a major BPO firm in Australia, another is a market research firm and the third is a major financial and banking institution. These companies are setting up operations for support services.

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