accenture’S Departure from Bangladesh

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Recently, Accenture announced that it would be dissolving its operations in Bangladesh by November this year. This would leave 556 of its current Dhaka employees without a job. Accenture was known to provide Grameenphone with IT and software related facilities. The sudden announcement has raise eyebrows with people now wondering how this would affect the technology sector of the country.

In 2010, Grameenphone, one of the largest mobile operators in the country, started its Grameenphone IT (GPIT) journey by separating the operations of their other subdued IT divisions. In 2013, GPIT signed a contract with a management consultancy, technology services and outsourcing firm called Accenture with a target to achieve the most number of shares in the market. Accenture gained 51% ownership in the company on 3rd August 2013.

On the 18th July 2017, the 556 employees working with Accenture Bangladesh were sent the notice about their contract termination. The announcement mentioned that all the debts of the employees will be cleared and the company will be closing down its operation in Bangladesh on 30th November 2017, once and for all. They were notified via an email signed by Purushothama Kadambu, Managing Director, of Operations in Accenture.

Accenture Employees’ Union, the company’s workers association announced that the workers would be going on a strike from Wednesday, 19th July 2017 to oppose the decision about the downsizing. The Union’s General Secretary, Shaheen Ahmed commented saying, “The closing down of Accenture in Bangladesh will have negative consequences from an international perspective. Foreign companies will no longer want to invest in this area. The union has strongly condemned and protested this decision. At the same time, we also seek government intervention in this regard.”

The termination email stated that the contract between Accenture and Telenor, Grameenphone’s parent company, will expire at the beginning of next year. It further informed that the services provided by Accenture will now be done in-house, and be divided among some other service providers and other operating divisions of Telenor around the world. Moreover, the email assured job security of the employees till November 2017 and stated that all debts and salaries of the employees would be cleared by that time. The company also ensured upon providing each of the employees with a release letter and an appraisal letter that will validate their contribution towards Accenture so far.

The email also mentioned that some of the employees could get job offers from Wipro, the company that has been appointed by Grameenphone in place of Accenture. Moreover, the company will be providing paid leaves and regular salaries to their employees as well, during the transitional period.

Accenture also mentioned in the notice that it would provide bonuses to the employees for the next three months till November as a token of appreciation for their services, which will be half of their basic salary. Thus, the cooperation of the employees during the transitional period was expected.

The ICT State Minister, Zunaid Ahmed Palak mentioned that the IT sector of Bangladesh would not be affected much by Accenture’s departure. He also said that industry has a concrete structure now and that it is nearing the billion dollar export mark. Accenture had around $10 million in exports previously. He tried looking at the bright side of the situation by explaining that now, around 500 experienced engineers can enter leading IT companies, take the lead, and even possibily open their own firms.

Accenture’s leaving is a great matter of concern for Grameenphone. However, Wipro, the Indian IT, consulting and outsourcing company is all prepared to take over Accenture’s functions for Grameenphone. Previously, Accenture used to provide Grameenphone service worth Tk 97 crore, which is around Tk 96 crore now.
The senior authorities of Accenture and other related sources confirmed the news of the abolition of the contract between Grameenphone and Accenture and also about the inception of the new contract of Grameenphone with Wipro.

Initially, Wipro wants to start its journey in Bangladesh with around 200 members. In the meanwhile, the firm has already begun recruiting with the help of a third party. However, the firm hasn’t officially confirmed its entry into Bangladesh yet.

A lot of individuals amongst the 556 employees who were sent the termination mail have now applied for interviews with Wipro with the help of the third party. However, a few of them were offered lower remuneration than before and those who have been offered the same seemed very skeptical about the environment.

Discussions have been in the air about Wipro starting its operations in Bangladesh from 2005 onwards. It was also heard that the firm back then, planned to come in collaboration with a local company and open a branch by investing around $50 million. The President of Strategic Sales of Wipro, Shri. Viswanathan K.S. back then, said that the Bangladeshi market is a very lucrative one for the company and that the company would do some research on it.

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