In a bid to ensure balance and fairness in the operations of games in the lottery industry, the federal government is set to begin recovering the N100 billion that it’s being owed by lottery operators.
This, it intends to do by setting up a road map to enable the industry play its role in the economy of the country.
In a meeting held with operators in Abuja, the minister of Special Duties and Intergovernmental Affairs, George Akume, said the federal government is set to setup an Extra Ministerial Committee constituted to recover the N100 billion revenue owed it by lottery operators. He said that the committee would be activated within two weeks and the government would not hesitate to do the needful against any operator that is not meeting up in its statutory obligations.
Akume, who was furious that major players in the industry shunned a stakeholders’ meeting scheduled by his office to resolve the infractions, vowed that sanctions were underway for such operators that have refused to respect the laws regulating their business environment.
The minister expressed displeasure over the continued failure of lottery operators nationwide to remit appropriate revenue to National Lottery Trust Fund as required by extant rules.
The minister, while rescheduling the stakeholders’ meeting for next week, warned that those interested in lottery business, must accept the global standards which the country is aligning with.
Akume, who lamented that since the enactment of Lottery Act in 2005, the industry had lacked proper coordination, also noted that the National Lottery Regulatory Commission was putting a finishing touch to a Central Monitoring System designed to curb fraud in the industry and also ensure sustainable revenue generation for the government.
“In as much as we want to proceed, we still want to open up our doors to inclusiveness as much as we can, it is in the interest of all of us to cooperate so that the business of lottery would be carried out as it is done in other parts of the world.
“Since 2005, when the commission was created by an act of parliament, the industry has never been regulated properly. It has been one step forward and 10 steps backward, that is why we are the joke of the century in the lottery industry all over the world.
“The federal government has put in place, in the interim, certain internal monitoring measures to enable all operators to be considered for implementation. We are determined to make a difference now.”
It was also stated that a bill, which would clearly spell out functions of government at national and subnational levels, would be forwarded to the national assembly.
Also speaking, the director- general of National Lottery Regulatory Commission, Mr Lanre Gbajabiamila, said the commission is working on a bill seeking to amend the Lottery Act. Gbajabiamila, who acknowledged that the commission has had challenges resolving the issue of doubletaxing lottery operators by state governments, also noted that the new bill would address all the grey areas.
He further assured that the commission would work with all stakeholders in the industry to end the nonremittance of revenue to the government.