Minister of Special Duties and Intergovernmental Affairs, Senator George Akume, has said that the Federal Government will acquire a Central Monitoring System (CMS) for the gaming industry in Nigeria.
He made this known during the maiden edition of the National Gaming Conference organised by the National Lottery Regulatory Commission (NLRC), with the theme: “Repositioning the gaming industry for better performance and enhanced revenue generation for stakeholders in the 21st century.”
Said Akume: “The CMS is desperately desirable to enable the government to block leakages being experienced in the gaming industry as well as eliminate discrepancies often observed from the books of some operators. This will undoubtedly entrench transparency and accountability in the industry, thereby making things a lot easier for all stakeholders.”
On the Nigerian economy, the minister said it shrank by 1.8 per cent in 2020, adding that this was the deepest decline since 1983.
He said COVID-19 crisis further exacerbated the economic slowdown, resulting in over 100 million Nigerians entering poverty, which made the need for government to widen and strengthen its revenue streams.
Akume said the Nigerian gaming industry is well positioned to play a key role in funding government’s poverty alleviation programmes and other public good causes.
“The lottery commission was created in 2005 through the Act of the National Assembly to enable the government to properly organise the operation if Lottery business in Nigeria. Several stakeholders have made effort to generate revenue for the government through lottery, however it is sad to note that lottery revenues continue to fall short of industry potentials due to conflict of interests,” he said.
He however said in 2019, reports indicated that Nigeria gaming industry, including international stakeholders was in excess N250 billion, noting that revenues to government did not exceed N1billion that year.
Director-General of NLRC, Lanre Gbajabiamila, said the commission was committed to the growth of the lottery business in Nigeria and that it would do everything possible to ensure that the business is elevated in all areas.
Chairman, Senate Committee on Sports, Obinna Ogba and Chairman House Committee on Sports, Akin Alabi, praised the leadership of the National Lottery Regulatory Commission for coming up with the conference stating that it was the right for the development of lottery in the country.