To acquire CMS to wedge revenue leakages from lottery business
Says Nigerian gaming market grossed N250bn in 2019 with FG receiving N1bn as revenue
Nigeria is targeting its growing lottery industry, which is conservatively estimated to be worth N250 billion in revenues, in its continuous drive to plug what it has called leakages in its potential earning sources across the suffering economy.
The government says there are revenue leakages seen in the operations of lottery business in the country and that these need to be blocked. To do this, the Ngerian federal government says it will acquire a central monitoring system (CMS) to curb issues of discrepancies which are often observed in the gaming industry.
George Akume, minister of special duties and intergovernmental affairs, disclosed this recently in Lagos at the opening of the maiden National Gaming Conference organised by the National Lottery Regulatory Commission (NLRC), which had as theme, “Repositioning the gaming industry for better performance and enhanced revenue generation for stakeholders in the 21st century”. He stated that the acquisition of the monitoring system will enable the lottery commission and its sister agency, the National Lottery Trust Fund, to perform maximally in their regulatory functions and provision of lottery good causes to Nigeria.
“This was already captured in the 2021 Appropriation Act,” he said, adding that, “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”.
He noted that the gaming sector in Nigeria was well-positioned to play a key and significant role in helping to finance the poverty alleviation programmes of the government, as well as other good causes.
Akume also stated these informed the government’s most pressing need to diversify the economy as a way to enhance more revenue streams. He also noted that reports have shown that Nigeria’s gaming industry, including international stakeholders, in 2019 earned more than N250 billion, stating that revenues to the government did not surpass one billion naira that same year.
“As we may all be aware, the Lottery Commission was created in 2005 through the Act of the National Assembly to enable the government to properly organise the operation of the lottery business in Nigeria. Several stakeholders have made efforts to generate revenue for the government through the lottery segment; however, it is sad to note that lottery revenues continue to fall short of industry potentials due to conflict of interests,” he said.
George Akume, while speaking on the nation’s economy noted that the pandemic crisis had exacerbated the economic slowdown which spurred the need for the government to widen and strengthen its revenue streams.
“The federal government, as a matter of urgency, began to look beyond oil and gas for revenue generation to sustain the Nigerian economy. We all know that poverty is a primary cause of youth unemployment, civil agitation and insecurity, hence significant funds are needed to confront these problems, “Akume said
Lanre Gbajabiamila, the director general of NLRC said that the commission would be working with relevant industry stakeholders and government officials on the amendment of existing lottery laws as they will provide a legislative and regulatory framework that would best serve the industry.
“It is common knowledge that the industry has evolved and adopted technology to optimise so much that the extant laws do not reflect the reality or trend of the Nigerian gaming industry. We are optimistic that before the end of the year, the National Gaming Bill 2021 will be passed into law,” he said.
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