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Reps vow to recover N1.4 trillion unremitted lottery proceeds

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Speaker, House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara

The House of Representatives Monday swore that it would leave no stone unturned to ensure the recovery of about N1.4 trillion unremitted lottery revenue to the federation account.

The House via its committee on governmental affairs led by Mr Hussaini Sulaiman probing into the problem associated with revenue losses in the sector from 2005 to date noted that it was unfortunate that lottery operators have been unfair to the country by their unpatriotic conduct.

Hussaini particularly remarked that it was disheartening that Government realized about N7. 6 billion from some of the twenty-one licensed lottery operators in the country within the past eleven years even when less populated and endowed countries like Morroco, Cote ‘d Voire, and Togo remitted N58 billion, N2.7 billion, and N1.8 billion on yearly basis.

He said: “With this fact at our disposal, we wonder why Nigeria with a population of over 180 will be earning far bless from these operators. We are not going to allow this unpatriotic act to continue. Any licensed operator owing to the government would be made to remit whatever amount such person is owing. We would make sure the licenses of those operating illegally are revoked as well.”

The acting executive secretary of the National Lottery Trust Fund, Mr Bello Maigari while testifying before the lawmakers confirmed that the nation’s lottery market was worth N1.5 trillion adding the absence of regulatory framework and the nonchalant attitude of operators were among the challenges faced in the sector.

Describing the N7.6 billion revenue that accrued from operators to his outfit charged with the responsibility of administering the fund on provision of social amenities as grossly inadequate, he enjoined the lawmakers to put in place measures to bring those who default in the payment of revenue to book.

The Director-General of the Nigeria lottery Commission, Mr Lanre Gbajabiamila who was grilled over the issue disclosed that the issuance of licenses for the 21 lottery operators was granted by the presidency between 2004 to date.

Acknowledging that there is room for improvement on the issue of revenue generation, he argued that the goal could be achieved with the review of the legislation that established his outfit.

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr Yakubu Dogara who declared the hearing open disclosed that it was unfortunate that the lottery sector which is ranked Fourth after oil and gas, agriculture, and solid mineral in terms of potentialities to generate revenue is yet to be exploited for the benefit of Nigerians.

Represented by the Chairman of the House Committee on media and public relations, Mr Abdulrazak Namdas, he said it behoves the authorities to emulate advanced countries like the United States of America (USA), China and South Africa that utilised proceeds from the sector to build critical infrastructure for their respective citizens.


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