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Stakeholders seek public sector’s adoption of tech for growth

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John Obaro


Industry experts have said that technology has become an economic enabler; thus nations, businesses and individuals now depend on its assistance to leapfrog and compete even globally.They noted that the impact of technology on the public sector cannot be overemphasised; hence, no nation can develop beyond the competencies of her public sector, especially in the 21st Century.
 
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO), SystemSpecs, John Obaro, whose company developed Remita, made the remark in his Lead Paper presentation during plenary at the 1st Accounting Technology Summit (AccountTeks) hosted by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN), in Lagos.He said there was urgent need to initiate a Private Public Partnerships (PPP) in technology to undertake significant national initiatives.
 
Discussants at the plenary session, also included the Chief Executive Officer, City Business Computers, Gbade Alabi; Director of TSA, Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation, Slyva Okolieaboh; Managing Director, Soft Alliance, Tunde Badejo represented by the firm’s Executive Director, Solutions Delivery, Dr. Bisi Aina; and Former Accountant-General, Kaduna State Government, Umar Waziri.
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Obaro, whose presentation was on “Technology-Enabled Transformation of the Public Sector,” said the private sector will become more attuned to Federal Government’s e-governance initiatives when provided with incentives such as liberal tax laws for companies willing to invest in IT products.
 
“The public sector is charged with the responsibility of formulating and executing government policies for the advancement of the country. So, whatever laws they put out there will either attract top home and foreign based talents or scare them away.
 
“In Estonia today, the digital authentication and signature system used by the whole population has been estimated to save up to 2 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) yearly. The microeconomic effect of the well-developed ICT sector is even bigger.This comes at about seven per cent. The efficiency of these services has outweighed the cost of investment. Having a digital society has also fostered a culture of innovative technology companies. Today Estonia has the highest density of unicorns – roughly one per million citizens: Taxify, Skype, TransferWise,” he added.
  
On how Remita has delivered value to both public and private sectors, Obaro said it is the first solution to provide comprehensive invoicing, data collection and hitch-free payment platform.

“Prior the adoption of a Treasury Single Account (TSA), government was struggling to manage 17,000 accounts in multiple banks. TSA is an evidence of technology intervention. It has helped the Nigerian government reduce proliferation of bank accounts operated by Ministries Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to promote transparency and accountability among all organs of the government,” he added.
   
“TSA Revenue/Receipts Collection implementation came into national limelight in September 2015, when President Muhammadu Buhari gave a firm directive to all MDAs to become TSA-compliant in respect of all payments and collections.

“Remita manages an interbank platform, which rests on a Straight Through Processing (STP) integration with all banks and over 400 microfinance banks. Funds are also disbursed to beneficiaries from the TSA,” Obaro said.
   
Also contributing, Okolieaboh said the public sector is ready for automation, saying: “There is an improvement in technology usage unlike in the past. We now have the Information Communication Technology (ICT) offices in all government agencies.”
  
Members of the panel also applauded SystemSpecs for the uniqueness of the Remita solution, which has helped to entrench transparency, accountability, convenience and simplified approach to collect and make payments.
 
“The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) should encourage and establish software acquisition by its members. Firms should also build a secured application and invest in their employees through trainings and re-trainings. This is because we need companies to thrive in the 21st century and must build the capacity that can help us compete favourably,” they said.   
They added that technology adoption in the public sector would bring together different sources of data, and help understand better how information flows among different agencies to make informed decisions.
 

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