Promote voice and non-voice outsourced services in the Philippines, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) urged as the country leads the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit this year. The country's main growth driver, the services sector which includes the Philippine outsourced services industry, accounts for over half (56.7 percent) of the gross domestic product (GDP) and was the largest contributor to growth in the fourth quarter of 2014.
The services sector, led by Philippine business process outsourcing (BPO), grew by 6 percent in Q4 last year, the same growth for 2014's total year average. The industry currently employs 1.052 million Filipinos, and voice and non-voice outsourced services in the Philippines are expected to increase employment to 1.3 million and hit $25 billion in revenues by 2016.
However, economists say there is more work to be done to make the growth driven by the boom in Philippine business process outsourcing, telecoms, and real estate inclusive. They criticized the growth that threw the spotlight on the disparity between private and government spending.
NEDA Deputy Director General Emmanuel Esguerra also said there are still remaining potentials that can be developed. He added that the country is in a unique strategic position that could help small and medium-sized businesses reach global value chains (GVC). The Philippines has the highest GVC participation in electrical and optical equipment among APEC countries, according to Esguerra.
Trade Secretary Gregory Domingo identified a type of small and medium enterprise that could benefit from better promotion. "Some of them [SMEs] produce very good quality products. They are mainly in food processing. They are also in handicrafts. They are also in furniture and also in the production of smaller items. And these are the ones that really need the most help," he said.
The Philippines leads the world's largest economic gathering in almost two decades in the APEC Senior Official's meeting at Pampanga's Clark Freeport Zone from January 31 to February 7. The gathering focuses on the integration of SMEs to global value chains.