US gov't shutdown seen to affect PH BPO sector

By Louella D. Desiderio, The Philippine Star

Posted at Oct 03 2013 07:46 AM | Updated as of Oct 03 2013 03:46 PM

MANILA, Philippines - The US government’s shutdown may affect Philippine contact centers and the information technology (IT) healthcare outsourcing sector, an industry official said.

IT and Business Processing Association of the Philippines (IBPAP) president and chief executive officer Jose Mari Mercado told reporters in a chance interview yesterday the country’s contact centers and IT health care sector may potentially be affected by the US government’s shutdown.

“Primarily contact centers and health care will be affected. One of the controversies about the shutdown is Obamacare, right? So it is those two sectors that will be potentially affected,” he said.

He noted that the potential impact may be seen in terms of volumes of transactions.

The US government started a partial shutdown on Monday as the Congress failed to agree on a new budget.

The partial shutdown, which is the first in 17 years, is expected to leave 800,000 federal workers without a paycheck.

With 800,000 workers without pay not likely to be making transactions as a result of the shutdown, Mercado said call volumes of contact centers here may decline.

Such, he said, may also have an impact on revenues.

He said though it is premature to give an estimate of the possible effect of the shutdown on the industry.

“It’s too early to say and to make any conclusions,” he said.

Traditionally, he said, call volumes increase in November and December as there are many holidays such as Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas, during this period.

He also said he is hopeful the US government would be able to resolve the matter soon.

“They will try to fix it right away,” he said further.

The IBPAP is the enabling association for the IT and business process management industry in the Philippines. It has 300 industry and support-industry members, including five associations – the Animation Council of the Philippines, Inc., Contact Center Association of the Philippines, Game Developers Association of the Philippines, Healthcare Information Management Outsourcing Association of the Philippines, and Philippine Software Industry Association.