The Federal Government has inaugurated a 12-man ministerial task force to recover unremitted lottery funds from operators and permit holders, from 2015 to 2020, adding that Nigeria could generate over 20 billion per annum.
The members included the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Special Duties and Intergovernmental Affairs, William Alo; Director-General National Regulatory Commission, Lanre Gbajabiamila; Executive Secretary, National Lottery Trust Fund, Bello Maigari; Okechukwu Odunna, Director of Enforcement; Stella Maduka, Okunade Sarah, Simon Tyunku Jude Ughwujabo and representatives the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC), and the Police.
While inaugurating the Committee, yesterday in Abuja, Minister of Special Duties and Intergovernmental Affairs, George Akume, urged them to be at their best in ensuring that they recover every kobo belonging to government.
He said: “It is clear that historic revenues collections from lottery and gaming transactions have underperformed resulting in significant losses to government.
“Despite my earlier appeal for increased effort by operators to pay what they owe, statutory returns continue to be poor or non existent.”
Meanwhile, the Director General, National Regulatory Commission, Lanre Gbajabiamila, said that with the setting up of a central monitoring system, Nigeria could make N20 billion per annum, as it would be difficult for operators to cheat government.
Gbajabiamila disclosed that the country currently generates over N1 billion annually unlike before when it was making about N400 to N500 million.
He said: “I have been in office for the last 2 years and things are shaping up than it was before, that is why we have gone pass the N1 billion mark. Before my time, we were making N400 million to N500 million. But since inception, we have done well than what we were doing before. But we can do better.
“Considering what we are doing now, and if for instance, we start this implementation in the first quarter on the central monitoring platform, I can say that before the year is over, and I am being conservative, we will make about N8 billion. And the following year, we will be making at least N20 billion for 2 to 3 years.
“The government needs that in this time of COVID-19. I think we can look forward to a better regulatory lottery industry once we have all things in place.
“And, like I keep saying, the central monitoring system is what we need. We have gotten the support of government and we are hoping to get that implemented.”