FG Unveils ‘National Game’

FG Unveils ‘National Game’

Paul Effiong, Abuja

Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila said many countries have deployed proceeds of lottery to finance infrastructural development, as well as create jobs for their citizens.

Gbajabiamila noted that Nigeria is leaving no stone unturned in ensuring the growth of the lottery sub-sector.

The speaker, who gave the clarification while delivering a keynote speech during the official unveiling of a new policy christened ‘National Game’ by the National Lottery Regulatory Commission, NLRC, in Abuja yesterday, disclosed plans by the National Assembly to bequeath a robust and functional lottery and gaming industry to the country through legislation.

According to him, plans are underway to introduce a bill that would regulate the practices of lottery and gaming in the country.

He observed that many countries have made huge success through lottery as functional mechanism and legislations are in place to check fraudulent practices in the system.

In his address, the Minister of Special Duties and Intergovernmental Affairs, Senator George Akume said the initiative had been evasive since the enactment of the National Lottery Act in 2005, adding that with the establishment of NLRC, most sharp practices have been curbed.

He disclosed that with the re-establishment of the ministry and his appointment as minister, he and other stakeholders recognized the need to implement the ‘Nigeria National Game, NNG.’

“The most important benefit of the national game is that it translates to significant employment opportunities in line with President Buhari’s directives to MDAs to initiate programmes that will generate employment ffor youths.

“Most of our concern was the proliferation of unregulated foreign games in Nigeria and export of revenues due to heavy patronage. It was apparent that Nigeria needed its own national lottery brand”, Akume disclosed.

According to him, stakeholders in the sector agreed that a national game would reposition the domestic lottery industry, better secure Nigerian players, enhance operational performance and deliver greater revenues to government, adding that countries like Iceland with a population of about 1.5 million people and America, established a university solely built and run with proceeds of gaming.

In an interview after the event, the Director-General of NLRC, Lanre Gbajabiamila stated that gaming operations had been going on for many years in the country.

He, however, solicited the support of all Nigerians as everything should not be left in the hands of government.

He revealed that with proper management, lottery could create wealth, as well as funding for capital projects and create job opportunities for job seekers more than other sectors of the economy.

Gbajabiamila stressed that with the dwindling oil revenue, it is time that the country looks inwards in order to tap from other sources of revenue, pointing out that the National Lottery Act of 2005 is too old and outdated to regulate lottery in the country and called for its review.

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