From Uche Usim, Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday advised Nigerians to embrace modern technology in order not to be swept away by the tides digitization currently pervading the global economy.
Buhari gave the advice in Abuja at the 50th Annual Accountants’ Conference of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN).
Represented by the Minister of Finance Budget and National Planning Zainab Ahmed, President Buhari stated that “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 to one another”.
This, the President said “creates potential for automation, innovation and disruption”.
According to President Buhari “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”.
He noted that there are “possible challenges of workers being displaced due to automation and widened income inequality”.
Nigeria he said “must realistically anticipate, be positioned to harness the opportunities embedded in the Fourth Industrial Revolution and adopt policies to cushion the negative effects of these technologies, towards maximizing the net gains from the Fourth Industrial Revolution”.
Government he said will continue to work closely with all stakeholders to design initiatives that would engender economic growth, improve contribution to GDP, wealth and job creation.
The President noted that despite claims from some that careers will 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”.
The development of industries and the internet as two main drivers of the Fourth Industrial Revolution President Buhari said “would increasingly transform how organizations and institutions do business, operate their productions, affect society, mark their ecological footprint as well as how people live their lives”.
For accountants, the president said “Professional Accountants who become well versed in the new technologies and social settings remain strongly in demand. However, for those who have not yet embraced technology, it requires adjustment everywhere”.
“Consequently, accounting leaders need to move along the transformation journey and close this gap between the “old world” and “new world” of accounting by leveraging on technology solutions to gain an understanding of how digital technologies are disrupting organizations’ business models”.
Accountants will now be expected to “investigate and implement solutions as well as develop team’s ‘human’ skills, leadership, empathy, creativity, decision-making and judgement skills that machines are not able to replicate. Accounting professionals need to develop these competencies and other ‘soft skills’ that are critical in the digital age”.