The fourth industrial revolution refers to rapid changes in technology, industries, and societal patterns and processes in the 21st century due to increasing interconnectivity and smart automation.
Dr Mwigulu Nchemba, Minister for Finance and Planning has said that the government is empowering institutions of governance at local and national level so that the country is left out.
Speaking during the opening of the Accountants’ Annual Conference 2021 in Dar es Salaam on Wednesday, he said the government is addressing the challenges through supporting its ministries, local government, departments and agencies to build the enabling environments for a digital economy.
In his speech read on behalf by the ministry’s deputy Permanent Secretary Dr Khatib Kazungu, the minister said the government was also assisting ministries, local government, agencies and departments to build sustainable ICT infrastructures.
This year’s annual conference was themed: “The 4th Industrial Revolution for Accountancy Sustainable Development”.
He noted: “The fourth industrial revolution is expected to change how we live, work, and communicate; it is also likely to change the things we value and the way we value them in the future. It is radically changing value creation in every economy and making a significant impact on society.”
He said the country already has Development Vision 2025 (TDV -2025), Sustainable Industrial Development Policy for Tanzania 2020 (SIDP -2020) and the National Five Year Development Plan (2021/2022 –2025/2026. The FYDP stipulates clearly the interventions that can be carried out to improve science and technology in the country among other things investing on technology transfer, human development and strategic use of ICT.
“The government is putting more efforts to improve and expand the mobile telecommunications networks and internet connectivity by establishing National ICT Broadband Backbone (NICTBB). The Government has constructed the National Fibre Optic Cable network named as National ICT Broadband Backbone (NICTBB) with a view to achieve its ICT vision,” he said.
He said the infrastructure is expected to enhance usage of ICT applications for sustainable socio-economic development including implementation of e-government, e-learning, e-health, e-commerce and many other attributes for purposes of improving service delivery to our people.
He said technological advances offer great hope for accelerating progress towards sustainable economic development. Digital technology connects people across the world instantaneously and provides access to information and services at a very low cost despite the fact that huge investment is required to sustain the fourth industrial revolution.
The minister said that the World Economic Forum, 2018 Report says that “These transformations, if managed wisely, could lead to a new age of good work, good jobs and improved quality of life for all, but if managed poorly, pose the risk of widening skills gaps, greater inequality and broader polarization”.
The minister further insisted that under this digital era, internal and external auditors need to provide the expected oversight during audits. Current technology involving artificial intelligence should enable the auditing profession to capitalize and improve so that past identified lapses do not occur in the future.
“Through the use of automated systems, auditors should be able to appropriately identify the operational risks resulting in more informed decisions along with ensuring transparent and accurate reporting. Accountants and auditors have to do their job in an ethical manner in order to detect and prevent the cyber-crimes which are prevalent in technology driven economies,” he said.
Prof Sylvia Temu, chairperson of NBAA governing board said participants will get a chance to discuss important issues that are related to the accountancy profession and other general issues in line with the 4th Industrial Revolution.
“As technology is spreading the scope of the profession, knowledge of trending technologies along with some survival skills are required for accountants. Therefore, in our three days of stay here our discussion will also need to look at the upcoming trends of the accountancy profession, at the same time discuss the required skills to adapt to the technological changes,” she said.
She said accountants need to be more adaptive and improve their skills to keep pace with machines. Artificial intelligence, robotics, and machine learning are free from human error and have higher processing power; which causes erosion in traditional accounting activities.