Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Where’s ICT in the President’s agenda?

There were a lot of things missed in the President’s second state of the nation address. Many were expecting for more substance, for a more concrete narrative of where this administration’s “straight road” will lead the country.

While the issues confronting the Philippines cannot all be included in a thirty, forty minute speech, it’s unfortunate that the ICT sector wasn’t mentioned.

ICT is one the key drivers of our economy. Our local telecom industry contributes four to five percent of our Gross Domestic Product (GDP), while the IT-BPO sector contributes another five percent. The latter created 100,000 jobs in 2010, and currently employs 525,000 Filipinos.

Also, the IT-BPO sector is one of our “sunshine industries.” Industry estimates reveal that revenue from BPOs could reach USD$50 billion by 2020. That’s a whopping 11% of our GDP. Already, our country has been dubbed the BPO capital of the world, after overtaking India as the leading provider of IT-BPO services last year.

But much more needs to be done. In terms of competitiveness, our ICT infrastructure ranked only 98th out of 139 countries surveyed in the World Economic Forum’s annual Global Competitiveness Report. We performed even worse in indices that measure the ease of doing business in a country. If we are to maintain our status as a leader in BPO services, and if we are to move forward towards providing higher-value services, then we should definitely have a clear strategy for ICT.

That being said, where’s ICT in the President’s agenda?

-- Ixara Maroto, sixth post

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