Nigeria recovered part of the debt owed by lottery companies

A few months ago, the Nigerian government lament over losing billions of Naira to unpaid revenue to lottery operators from 2015 to date from the outstanding payment from lottery operators in the country. Due to this, a 12-man ministerial task force committee was set up in Abuja to recover such funds across the country.

The Committee was led by Mr. William Alo, Permanent Secretary in the ministry. The following members include the Director-General National Lottery Regulatory Commission, Mr. Lanre Gbajabiamila, Mr. Bello Maigari, Mr. Okechikwu Oduma other members are Dr. Stella Maduka, Mrs. Okunade Serah. Mr. Simon Tyungu, Mr. Jude Ughwujabo, including a representative from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Economic Financial Crime Commission (EFCC), and a police force representative. However, since the Committee was set up a few months ago, it has recovered at least 4.6 billion Naira out of debt owed to the federal government by lottery companies. According to a report from the NAN.

The Acting Chairman of the Economic Financial Crime Commission (EFCC), Mr. Mohammed Umar Abba, disclosed the figure when a delegation from the Ministerial task Force for recovery of unpaid revenues from lottery businesses, led by its chairman Williams Alo visited the Commission in Abuja. Mohammed noted that lottery companies operating in the country were not forthcoming in remitting revenues due to the government hence the need for the Economic and financial crime commission to intervene. While appraising the efforts of the Commission in this direction, he said we mapped out strategies that resulted in the recovery of over 1.6 billion from lottery companies operating in Abuja with over 3 billion Naira from their counterparts working in Lagos State.

He assured the task force of the Economic Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) unwavering support, stating that we are willing and ready to partner with you. To ensure those lottery companies that have continuously shortchanged the government is made to cough out all the revenues they had deprived the government over the years. Alo, who is also the Permanent Secretary Minister of Special Duties and Intergovernmental Affairs, commended the Economic, Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) and Committee for its effort in recovering the unremitted lottery funds.

Further, let me acknowledge this Commission’s efforts for the assistance it has rendered not only to Federal Government but specifically to the lottery industry in Nigeria. In our record, the EFCC has assisted the lottery business in no small way because many recoveries have been made for us by the EFCC. Money recovered has always been handed over to the lottery trust fund. Alo also solicited for more support and collaboration of the Commission in the task force’s fund recovery drive. Our primary purpose is to request continuous cooperation and partnership. After all, we are in the same business line, in which every sector is making sure that life is better for Nigerians. However, the development is welcoming for the Nigerian gaming commission, which has been lamenting over the years of the gaming operators’ negligence attitude in the country of not showing commitment to pay their lottery fund.

Thus, this report sent a warning to other lottery operators in the country that the Nigerian government is focusing on the sector as it’s trying to diversify its economy from not to depend on crude oil. While it has plunged in recent time due to the uncertainty surrounding the global crude oil price amid COVID-19 pandemic crisis. Thus, the Nigerian gaming market has become a hotspot for gaming investors’ targeting the igaming market in recent times. That has seen different companies targeting the online gambling sector thanks to the internet penetration coupled with mobile-first now the new norm customers in the country placing wagers.

Of course, it is an exciting development and approach that will go a long way in shaping the Nigerian gambling industry. Other brands interested in getting the country’s license would have to adhere to the commission laws guiding the gambling industry.

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