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Buhari harps on IT for Nigeria’s relevance in next industrial revolution

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Akwa Ibom State Governor, Emmanuel Udom (left); Minister of Finance, Dr. Zainab Ahmed; President, Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN), Dame Onome Joy Adewuyi and Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde during the opening ceremony of ICAN’s Annual Accountants Conference in Abuja…yesterday. Photo: Lucy Ladidi Ateko<br />

Nigerians abroad and the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) has been urged to assist Nigeria with their information technology (IT) and digitisation expertise in preparation for the challenges of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR).

President Muhammadu Buhari made the appeal as a special guest of honour at the virtual 50th-anniversary conference of the ICAN themed, “The Fourth Industrial Revolution: Boom For The Accounting Profession And Panacea For Pandemic” yesterday in Abuja.

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Represented by the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, the Nigerian leader said the intervention has become necessary to consolidate on his regime’s various reforms geared at ensuring transparency in the management of public resources and preparing the country for the demands of the next industrial revolution.

He said: “We count on members of ICAN both at home and in the Diaspora to buy into current reforms undertaken by my administration and provide support in the area of policy formulation to improve the fiscal condition of our nation. Furthermore, the present administration will continue to support legislation and policies that enable professional bodies such as ICAN to deliver on their core mandates.”

Buhari noted that the Federal Government had been nurturing enduring relationships with professional bodies for the purposes of managing Nigeria’s finances in an open, transparent, accountable, and efficient manner that delivers on development priorities.

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The finance ministry, the President stated, was equally poised to strike pacts for better policies.

Describing the theme as apt and timely, he observed that it captured the digital economy policy and strategy of the current administration, adding that the government was willing to partner with the Academia in Information Technology Profession (AITP) and other stakeholders for Nigeria to play an active role in the coming industrial era.

Buhari went on: “The Fourth Industrial Revolution is marked by emerging technology breakthroughs in a number of fields, including robotics, Artificial Intelligence (AI), quantum computing, 3D printing, biotechnology, and the Internet.

“With the evolution of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, we stand on the brink of a technological revolution that will fundamentally alter the way we live, work and relate with one another. As the world we live and work in becomes more digitalised, the ways in which accountants and their clients can connect, collaborate, communicate and collect information are being reshaped. This creates the potential for automation, innovation, and disruption.

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“For all of us in general and accountants in particular, the journey towards digital and growing cloud adoption is the mother trend of all changes.

“Industrial revolutions often heralded disruptions in the operations of markets and economies. These disruptions are deviations from the status quo and are not always negative. From the first industrial revolution to the third, the productivity of the workforce in affected economies experienced a rapid boost. The Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) is thus much more.”

He further said: “The development of industries and the development of the Internet as two main drivers of the Fourth Industrial Revolution would increasingly transform how organisations and institutions do business, operate their productions, affect society, make their ecological footprint, as well as how people live their lives. Despite claims from some that careers would be lost, professions destroyed and accounting and audit services made redundant by new digital technologies, there are uncountable opportunities for those with knowledge of the new world order triggered by digital technologies.”

Earlier, ICAN President, Dame Onome Joy Adewuyi, clarified that the choice of the theme was informed by prevailing realities.

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