The Federal Government has expressed displeasure over the ”slow ”growth in the lottery sector, due to the “nonchalant attitudes“ of lottery operators in the country.
Sen. George Akume, Minister of Special Duties and Intergovernmental Affairs, made the observation in an interactive meeting with stakeholders and lottery operators in the country on Friday.
In addition, Akume said the lottery sector in Nigeria was yet to operate in accordance with international best practices.
Akume noted that Nigerian lottery system for decades now had lagged behind other nations of the world in terms of utilising the proceeds from the industry for national development.
According to him, the essence of the meeting is geared towards ensuring that the lottery industry in Nigeria is operated in accordance with international best practices.
“I have been having series of meetings with the lottery operators in Nigeria since I took over the ministry as the minister.
“All these meetings have been geared toward ensuring that the lottery industry in Nigeria is operated in accordance with international best practices.
“This requires full cooperation from all of you, but unfortunately, this has not been the case.
“We have had occasion to interact to effects the roadmap which we have prepared to enable the industry play its roles in the economy of this country, “ he said.
He, however, warned that any attempt to undermine the integrity of the system would no longer be tolerated by the Federal Government.
The minister also assured the operators of reorganisations of the Central Monitoring System (CMS) in addition to other measures to monitor the activities of key players in the lottery sector.
“We have been talking about CMS for many years since the creation of the commission without being effective; this present administration will effect it as part of measures to monitor the system, “ he said.
Responding, Mr Chidubem Ugwunweze who represented R&S LOTTO Ltd, complained of taxation by the states government as their major challenges which had also contributed to their inability to remit their proceeds to the NLRC as expected.
“We are faced with challenges of taxations by the state governments who constantly ask us to pay for licences even as we have paid for licences to the commission.
“They are often threatened to close our businesses, “ he said.
Ugwunweze, therefore, appealed to the minister and the commission`s intervention in to their plights to resolve the issues between the lottery operators and the states government.
In his contribution, Dr Lanre Gbajabiamila, the Director-General NLRC, explained that the commission`s challenge had lingered for long, thereby posting difficult tasks to the system in the country.
“It is a continuous challenge that has been in the pipeline for long, we have engaged the state regulators several times in regarding the way forward and we would continue in our efforts to engage the, “ he said.
Gbajabiamila gave the lottery operators assurance of continuous engagement with the state regulators to find a lasting solutions to those challenges.
“We are very much aware of the challenge and I can assure you that we haven’t stopped on our engagement with the states; we are making efforts to put it into our bill that will be sent to the national assembly, “ he said. (NAN)