The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria ICAN has stressed the need for governments at all levels to invest in technologies that will facilitate easy internet access and the building of robust, affordable and accessible data bases.

The President of the Institute, Mrs Comfort Olu Eyitayo stated this while delivering her speech during the 16th Northern Zonal Accountant’s Conference organised by the Institute in Kaduna.

Mrs Comfort Eyitayo said data would become the next oil, as it guides business decision making processes and competitiveness.

She noted that, as part of the Institute’s contribution to Youth Empowerment, arrangements are ongoing for the establishment of an ICAN Entrepreneurship Endowment to construct an Entrepreneurship Centre.

According to Mr Comfort Eyitayo, the Institute Entrepreneurship Centre is aimed at complementing the efforts of various governments in the country in tackling the increasing unemployment rate in the country.

The President of the Institute noted that, one of the economic paradoxes facing the country is the high rate of poverty in the midst of vast human, natural and material resources.

“Sadly, the country has plunged into the unjustifiable status of the poverty capital of the world, with nearly 87 million people living in extreme poverty. This implies that over 40% of the Nigerian population are living in extreme poverty which portends great danger for the economy and the security of the nation”

“It is necessary that we create a technology-enabled environment for Nigerian entrepreneurs to thrive and compete globally. In a digitally-connected world, it is obvious that information technology is playing an enabling role in youth empowerment”

In her speech, Kaduna State Deputy governor, Dr Hadiza Balarabe said the State Government has exceeded its internally generated revenue IGR targeted by about N7 billion naira in last year by collecting fifty point seven billion naira.

Dr Balarabe explained that, In line with Kaduna digital technology drive, the state government had partnered with Microsoft on a project to digitalise governance.

She said the aimed was to facilitate easy tracking of everyday activities, enhance cost-effectiveness, and eliminate bureaucratic bottlenecks as well as corruption.

The Deputy governor pointed out that, Empowering youths with practical skills in line with the global labour market makes them less vulnerable to terror and criminal merchants.

We are committed to empowering the youth through education, skills acquisition, ICT, leadership training and sports. In keeping with our commitment to using technology as a driver of long-term growth and development

Dr Hadiza Balarabe emphasized that, Youth, technology transformation and innovation are critical factors for success in today’s world, urged them to acquire technology skills.

She welcomed the ongoing military operations in the Northwest states and wished them success in reclaiming ungoverned spaces, restoring confidence across communities and upholding the prerogatives of the state.

Also speaking, the Chairman, Northern Zonal District of the Institute, Hajiya Zulaihat Aminu Bello revealed that, the Northern Zone as an organ of the Institute has keyed into the development and progressive agenda of the Institute.

Looking at the dynamism of the global trend of entrepreneurship development and youth engagement and its impact on social-economic growth and global poverty reduction in line with the United Nations Sustainable Economic Development

The theme for the conference is “Youth Empowerment and Information Technology: A Panacea for insecurity and Economic Recovery”.