‘Government needs to improve infrastructure for growth of financial technology’
Industry experts in the financial sector have urged the Federal Government to create an enabling infrastructure system in hopes to improve the growth of financial technology in Nigeria.
They observe that financial technology (Fintech) is still at its embryonic stage in Nigeria and for it to thrive, there has to be good environment, as the technologies can’t operate in isolation.
Adebisi Shonubi, deputy governor (operations), Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), says the time has come to be biased toward technology rather than the use, but focusing on its benefit to individuals.
Shonubi in a keynote speech at the maiden Accounting Technology summit organised by Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) in Lagos states that Fintech wouldn’t impact and improve financial inclusion until Nigeria sorts its infrastructure and environmental issues.
Speaking on the theme: ‘Disruptive technologies: the game changer for businesses,’ he says the best technology in the world may not always be the most appropriate in the environment that we are in.
According to Shonubi, “Am hopeful that more of the conversation and discussion would be around how technology can be applicable in our environment and the benefits that could be drawn and use by the people.”
Razak Jaiyeola, president of ICAN in his address, says the summit is one of its strategic initiatives at ensuring that chartered accountants and professionals in other disciplines are adequately prepared for the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
Jaiyeola opines that blockchain technology is redefining record-keeping roles of accountants in a more efficient and transparent way as well as reducing the costs of maintaining and reconciling ledgers and provides a higher level of assurance on the ownership and history of assets thereby facilitating loan disbursement decisions.
“Presently, we are witnessing unprecedented technological disruptions that are giving new meanings to how businesses should run. Failure to keep pace with the disruptive technological trend portends danger of extinction for any business entity or individual,” he says.
On his part, Bisi Sanda, chairman, Board of Consultancy and Information Technology Faculty of ICAN, observes that in developed countries, accounting technology summit has become a yearly event for decades because technology is what everybody leverages on for growth.
There must be a forum for those who provide technology solutions, those who use and those who advise on it, to meet and share ideas on incremental technologies for economic development, Sanda says.
Shonubi further states that people are the ones that drive economies all over the world, technology only supports people. In developed countries, the environment for Fintech exists.
“For difficult environment that we are in, I think the Fintech operators have done a very good job but they can’t do it alone, if we don’t put infrastructure in place, it will always be limiting for them and the users as well,” he says.
A change in technology will not automatically wipe out people who have been engaged rather it will involve new needs that warrant people learning new things and gathering new opportunities that would make them more efficient, he says.
“Fintech can’t go to anyone in the village and give them an app that would make their day better because they can’t afford it. There is no Internet, it has to ride on the infrastructure, and we need to consciously create the environment for them to thrive and if it is there, they can make a very big impact,” he notes.
In recent times, key emerging technologies relevant to accounting profession include artificial intelligence, big data, analytics, Blockchain, crypto-currency, virtual and augmented reality, cloud, social and mobile.
“The technologies have great impacts on processes, people, governance and businesses as well as economic models. If Nigeria must meet the vision 2020 financial inclusion target, the new financial and regulatory technologies must be deployed and accountants must keep abreast of existing solutions that would aid their practice,” he says.