The Embassy of Sri Lanka in Manila, as an initiative to further strengthen bilateral trade relations in identified priority sectors with the Philippines, continues to explore opportunities for Sri Lanka despite the constraints brought about by the pandemic, a statement from the Foreign Ministry said.
The statement said the Embassy organized an exploratory meeting between the Sri Lanka Association for Software Services Companies (SLASSCOM) and the IT and Business Process Association of the Philippines (IBPAP) held online on 7 September 2020 to seek out opportunities for collaboration in the Information Technology and Business Processing Management (IT-BPM) industry between the two countries.
The IBPAP, with over 300 members and six partner associations, is the enabling association for the IT-BPM industry association in the Philippines.
Ambassador Shobini Gunasekera, in her introductory remarks, promoted the strengths of Sri Lanka’s highly competent IT-BPM industry. She emphasized the emerging opportunities for Sri Lanka and the Philippines on win-win engagements by complementing each country’s strength and expertise in this industry. Besides, she encouraged the two organizations to study the potential benefits of engaging under a framework agreement through the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).
The two premier IT-BPM organizations were represented in the meeting by Vice Chairman of SLASSCOM Ashique Ali and President of IBPAP Rey Untal, who both actively discussed and exchanged ideas on how their respective organizations can streamline any initiatives to stimulate collaboration in the industry particularly on the topic of upskilling the workforce in line with global developments.
Subsequently, as an initiative to establish business-to-business engagements between reputed Sri Lankan and Philippine companies in this particular industry, the Embassy facilitated a virtual introduction meeting between SLASSCOM and Hinduja Global Solutions-Philippines (HGS-Philippines), one of the biggest and pioneer BPO companies in the Philippines.
In initiating the discussions, Ambassador Gunasekera promoted the strengths of Sri Lanka particularly in IT infrastructure, IT education, software and solutions, highly-competent workforce, business climate, and the innovative nature of its people. She also mentioned the government’s unwavering support to the industry and its prospective investors in line to promote Sri Lanka as a “Global Innovation Hub”. President and CEO of HGS-Philippines Pushkar Misra expressed his gratitude to the Embassy for organizing the informative session. Together with his colleagues from India, he mentioned his interest to take the initiative further with SLASSCOM by identifying potential areas for collaboration and investment as well as the appropriate partners in the IT-BPO industry with a focus on how Sri Lanka can cater to their operations in servicing the global healthcare industry. Hinduja Global Solutions is a business process management organization under the Hinduja Group. Its subsidiary in the Philippines, HGS-Philippines has 11,000 employees in its BPO centres all over the country since 2004.