The role of technology in shaping the future of world economies cannot be overemphasized due to the current trajectory the sector is on, therefore, forward-thinking countries need to embrace the adoption of technology in all aspects of governance.
This observation was made by the Managing Director of SystemSpecs Limited, John Obaro, at the recently concluded Accounting Technology Summit (AccountTeks) in Lagos.
Obaro, during his presentation titled “Technology-Enabled Transformation of the Public Sector”, remarked that private players will be more encouraged to will delve into the public sector if afforded an enabling environment and favourable policies from the government. He cited components such as liberal tax laws and provision of requisite infrastructure as some of the stimulants required to woo private investment in countries.
According to Obaro: “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 who can do things to move our country forward or scare them away.’’
Citing the example of Estonia, Obaro observed how technology fast-tracked the growth of the country from the precipice of poverty to one of the most technologically-advanced in the country.
“A typical example is a small country of 2.8 million people called Estonia: less than 30 years ago, this was a painfully poor country, limited in modern technology penetration. The leaders decided to create a unique selling proposition. They decided to invest the scarce resources of the newly independent state into building internet connection and equipping schools and public libraries with free internet. Repairing potholes or crumbling school buildings had to be forgone in order to invest in the new technology,’’ he said.
“In Estonia today, the digital authentication and signature system used by the whole population has been estimated to save up to 2% of GDP annually. The microeconomic effect of the well-developed ICT sector is even bigger. This comes at about 7%. 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 1 per million citizens: Taxify, Skype, TransferWise. You reap what you sow,’’ he added.
By the same token, Obaro commended the Federal Government of Nigeria for its strides in the technology sector and its promotion of e-governance; particularly the implementation of the World Bank recommended Treasury Single Account (TSA) policy.
“There have been a number of initiatives to apply technology to public sector transformation in Nigeria – IPPIS, GIFMIS, ITAS, National ID, BVN, TSA, etc. These have involved both foreign and local players, including SystemSpecs.
“A key example of the application of technology to public sector transformation in Nigeria is the Federal Government’s Treasury Single Account (TSA) initiative. TSA Revenue/Receipts Collection implementation came into national limelight in September 2015 when His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari gave a firm directive to all MDAs to become TSA compliant in respect of all payments and collections. Remita, the platform facilitating the policy, 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 Treasury Single Account”, Obaro maintained.
Panelists and the audience lauded SystemSpecs on the innovative Remita solution which has engendered accountability in the public sector and downscaled laborious processes for corporates.