This post is part of series of responses to observations made during a discussion on the “Aluth Parlimenthuwa” show on TV Derana. Read Part II here. There is value in engaging with people with different worldviews. I had such an opportunity during a rare television talk show on ICT issues on Derana. A senior policymaker in the science and technology policy area stated that ICT-related exports were not in the top ten only to be quickly corrected by two other panelists.
In 2011 I analyzed some earnings and employment data and initiated a debate on the health of the Sri Lanka IT and ITES sector. Links to the first and second columns. It appears that new data has come to light (though a source is not given and no reference is made to the sector study by the Export Development Board that I referred to in 2011). “As an industry, we made significant progress over the last five years. Our export revenue grew from $213m in 2007 to an estimated $600m in 2013 (182%).
The Sri Lanka Institute of Chartered Accountants’ annual conference started yesterday. Big do, with 1,100 participants paying LKR 17k+. Perhaps one of the largest gatherings of professionals in Sri Lanka. I was asked to speak on the subject of BPOs and KPOs on a panel this morning. I started with the government’s target of USD 2 billion in export earnings in 2016 from the IT and BPO sector.
We’re generally in favor of budget business models, but export industries that do not earn enough per employee to pay a decent wage have to be an exception. Here is some analysis I did on the Sri Lanka software export and offshoring BPO industries, based on official figures: The total software earnings of USD 294 million are produced by 27,000 people. That is LKR 99,825 per employee per month. Lower than I expected. On the BPO side, 13,000 people produce USD 98 million.