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Policy makers tasked on plans to mitigate potential adverse effect of AI on jobs

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As concerns mount that Artificial Intelligence, AI will replace certain percentage of jobs globally; policy makers in Nigeria have been tasked to proactively come out with practicable policies to mitigate consequences of the technology on employment.

The urgent policy in the face of rising unemployment in Nigeria has become necessary as Nigerian businesses increasing adopt AI for operations. The fear is that the unemployment issue in Nigeria with its consequences will be worse with the advent of AI and its continuous evolution.

The demand for the policy to checkmate the effects was part of the resolutions of 2024 Company Secretaries and Registrars’ Forum on Thursday which discussed the impact of AI and cyber security in capital market operations. The forum was organised by Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators of Nigeria, ICSAN.

The forum considered the merits and demerits of AI generally and agreed that the technology has come to stay because of its importance but that policy makers, innovators, users of the technology and the private sector should consider potential job losses with a view to ameliorate it with policies.

Speakers at the forum also agreed on regulation and implementation of AI operation to ensure that all values are properly taken into consideration as AI continues to evolve because Nigeria cannot afford to run in all directions without proper control and proper regulation.

Funmi Ekundayo, President of ICSAN who spoke to BusinessDay at the forum held in Lagos said though within the data protection laws there are different groups that are also looking at things around technology and AI but said that if an agency is established that will ensure that 100 percent focus is on the AI is also welcome.

She said the theme of the one-day forum “The Implications of Artificial Intelligence and Cybersecurity to capital market Operations” was chosen because of the magnitude of its relevance not only to current corporate secretarial practices, but governance practices in general, especially with the right focus that is set on capital market operations.

Focusing on the need for cyber security which is application of technologies, processes, and controls to protect systems from unathorised malicious users, Ekundayo noted that capital market is a home to enormous amount of precious and invaluable data and the imperative of safeguarding such important asset cannot be overemphasized.

In his keynote paper, Simon Araronu, Executive Director at Bank of Industry said the capital markets around the globe are the most data-sensitive segment of the financial industry and AI is reshaping how traders, investors, and financial institutions perceive, analyse, and interact with the markets.

The advancements in AI technology have permeated every facet of the capital market industry. From front-office tasks such as liquidity searches to back-office functions like error reduction and automation, AI has become deeply integrated, he said.

He however warned that cyber attacks in the capital market can erode financial performance, reputational damage, loss of trust from investors and legal repercussions.

On preventions, Araronu said individuals, firms and the economy can mitigate cyber insecurity through strategic approaches.

During panel discussion, Francis Olawale, CEO of Frank Nominees Limited validated ethical consideration and regulation of AI to protect values and the economy.

Giving Indian perspective to the AI regulations, Hitender Mehta, who spoke on Zoom from India said if there is a loss to anyone, within 24 hours they are able to recover the loss because of the controls and systems they have put in place.