The Federal Government, yesterday, vowed to go tough on recovering N100 million debt owed by lottery operators in the country.
This was made known by the Minister of Special Duties and Inter-governmental Affairs, George Akume, at stakeholders’ meeting held in Abuja.
According to Akume defaulting lottery operators are taking government for granted and will soon regret their action as they have failed to live up to expectation by faithfully remitting to the National Lottery Trust Fund as required as far as extant rules are concerned.
Venting his anger over the way and manner some of the lottery operators have acted said government used enough diplomacy to make them remit revenue that would have been used for national development, but defaulting lottery companies failed to understand to do the needful, as the approach did not yielded any result, because they abused the privilege given them, but it would not continue anymore.
He also cautioned and said operators who want to continue in the business must accept and adhere to global standards and best practices as Nigeria is part of that.
However, he further stated that there are issues affecting the industry including poor coordination and fraud, which all is being done to curb these practices by the National Lottery Regulatory Commission as it puts finishing touches to a Central Monitoring System it has designed for the industry, and that would help in sustainable revenue generation for government.
Meanwhile, the Minister said an Extra Ministerial Committee will be constituted in two weeks time to go on debt recovery drive and make sure lottery operators remit what they owe government.
He said: “Since 2005 lottery business has not been properly organised. It has been one step forward and tend step backward. Lottery business must be done in Nigeria the way it is done elsewhere.”
In a remark, the Director-General, National Lottery Regulatory Commission, Lanre Gbajabiamila, explained the Commission’s effort to improve operations and strict adherence to laws regulating the industry, which one of them is a Bill to amend the Lottery Act before the National Assembly.
According to Gbajabiamila, there are challenges the Commission is currently resolving including double-taxation by state governments, which operators are complaining about.
He assured that with the Bill scaling through pertinent issues affecting the industry will be properly addressed.
He reiterated that the Commission would work with stakeholders in the industry to tackle and put to an end the issue of non-remittance of revenue to government.