John Obaro, the Managing Director of Nigerian software giant, SystemSpecs, has revealed that he resigned as a banker to start the firm and built its HR technology solution, HumanManager, and later its renowned financial technology product, Remita, which powers the Nigerian government’s Treasury Single Account (TSA).
Speaking at the recently held 2021 Kingdom Summit in Lagos, tagged ‘Reposition, Recover, Soar’, the tech entrepreneur shared some insights on his company’s origins and its emergence as a prominent African player in the financial and human resource technology solutions space.
“Some 29 years ago, I resigned from my job after about 10 years’ experience in the banking sector,” said Obaro. “Banking on God’s favour, and with limited funds, SystemSpecs, a wholly indigenous software house, launched in January 1992.”
The tech guru said that some of the values driving the company include dependence on God for success, ethics and integrity, friendship with customers, family-based relationship at work, partnership with neighbours, and innovation and diligence in the pursuit of excellence.
According to Obaro, SystemSpecs launched a human resource technology solution, HumanManager, one of its most successful products in 1995. It instantly became a trailblazer in the use of web technology for HR/Payroll Management and is also one of the global pioneers of Employee Self-service in the HR/payroll management. HumanManager was selected by the World Bank for the implementation of the Federal Government’s pilot Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS), leading to a commendation by former president Olusegun Obasanjo in his book, My Presidential Legacy.
The story of SystemSpecs will not be complete without Remita, a household name in Nigeria. According to Obaro, SystemSpecs developed Remita as a one-stop solution in 2005 to empower organisations to pay salaries across all banks, deliver tax schedules across all states, deliver contribution deduction schedules to cooperatives, and deliver pension contributions to Pension Fund Custodians (PFCs) of all the Pension Fund Administrators (PFAs).
“We got an invitation for the almighty Treasury Single Account (TSA) during a routine CBN visit,” Obaro continued.
Remita is perhaps more popular for its role as the technology solution powering the Treasury Single Account (TSA), a unified bank account policy recommended by the International Monetary Fund (IMF to improve fiscal management and reduce corruption. The policy has had a profound impact on the federal government’s financial management despite several political constraints, saving the government about N45 billion monthly according to the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed.
Remita is also used by businesses and individuals for payments of everyday bills as well as funds collections, for managing accounts across multiple banks and managing individuals’ financial approval profiles across multiple organisations.
Advising the event’s attendees, Obaro said vision, diligence, good attitude, integrity, perseverance and team building are some of the necessary attributes for successful entrepreneurship.
Hosted by the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), The King’s Court, the 2021 Kingdom Summit featured other prominent speakers including Dr Cosmas Maduka, CEO, Coscharis Group; Shola David-Borha, Director, Standard Bank Subsidiaries, Nigeria and Uganda; Poju Oyemade, Lead Pastor, Covenant Nation; Ndidi Nwuneli, Co-founder, Sahel Consulting; and Femi Adeyemo, CEO, Arnergy.