The federal government has said the National Lottery Regulatory Commission (NLRC) is capable of providing a significant share of revenue Nigeria requires annually, saying it can be second to the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
The government also said the commission couldncontribute significantly to the plan of President Muhammadu Buhari to lift 100 million citizens out of poverty before the end of his administration.
The Minister of Special Duties and Inter-Governmental Affairs, Sen. George Akume made the remarks during his official visit to the head office of the commission in Abuja recently.
Akume, who was received by the NLRC Director General, Mr. Lanre Gbajabiamila, said he was encouraged by reports he had received about the commission, saying he would do everything to support its works.
He said: “Whether we operate as a ministry or a parastatal, the basic role of government remains the same. Whatever we do as a country has to do with the allocation and application of resources. That is where this commission comes in to play a pivotal role.
I am not an expert in this field. But I am informed that if what you are doing is properly managed, this commission has the capacity to contribute meaningfully to the upliftment of our people.
“President Buhari has made his commitment of lifting over one hundred million Nigerians out of poverty in the next ten years. This commission is in a position to play a major role.
“If this commission is properly organised, we can rake in billions to the coffers of this government. Experts have told me that the possibilities are huge and enormous,” Akume said.
He further challenged the commission to do more in increasing its revenue for government, adding that lottery can create a huge revenue base for the country just like the NNPC.
He, however, said he was disappointed at what was accruing to the federal government, urging the commission “to make difference when the budget cycle begins. With the potentials here, this commission has the capacity to be second, only to the NNPC.
He promised to address all the challenges the commission had been facing in the discharge of its statutory responsibilities, though said the commission.
The minister said: “I have listened carefully to your challenges. The issue of the central monitoring system is paramount. Without it, you can’t achieve much. I want to assure you that we would do our best but our best depends on what you’re also doing.
“It is very important that you work on this before the end of the year; we know that we have accomplished something because the whole success of the commission depends on this.
“The establishment of a national game and recovering of massive revenues lost are crucial. I believe they are workable. There is also need to amend the law that establishes the commission. No law is perfect.
There’s a procedure we have to go through. The earlier you make a draft to me for necessary action, the better.
“There is the issue of permanent site. The commission can’t continue to operate from a temporary site because it costs more. I also fully support this. The issues of conflict should not stop you from operating as my office also deals with inter-agency relations.”