The Nigerian Federal Government has revealed that it has lost ‘billions of Naira’ from 2015 onwards due to unpaid revenue from the lottery sector, with efforts now being made to recover the funds from operators.

Sen. George Akume, Minister of Special Duties and Intergovernmental Affairs announced that he has created a 11-person ministerial task force committee in order to recover the lost funds from the lottery permit holders, with a two month deadline given to complete the task.

Additionally, the minister highlighted the importance of amending the current lottery industry landscape in Nigeria, with Vanguard reporting that he is unsatisfied with current operations.

Akume stated: “Today I am inaugurating a special ministerial committee task force to be chaired by the Permanent Secretary to recover unpaid revenue from lottery operators and permit holders in Nigeria from 2015. “The terms of reference is expressly stated in the appointment letters forwarded to designated task force members and it is expected that the task force shall complete its work within the next two months.

“It is clear that historic revenues collections from lottery and gaming transactions have underperformed resulting in significant losses to the government.

“In spite of my earlier appeal for increased effort by operators to pay what they owe, statutory returns continue to be poor or nonexistent.”

Mr Williams Alo, Permanent Secretary, who is chairing the committee, also discussed the necessity of collecting the unpaid revenue in order to financially support the country following its growing administrative problems.

He added: “Having regards to the need to raise funds for the administrative issues of this country, I deem it necessary as it is discovered that the lottery sector has the potential to increase the revenue base of this country.

 “This country cannot continue to depend on oil as reasonable effort is being made to diversify the economy. 

“And that is why the honourable minister, having looked at some gaps of not generating enough funds from the lottery to meet up not just the good courses but to also assist the government in pursuing its developmental projects.”

Along with Alo, the other members of the task force include: Mr Lanre Gbajabiamila, Director-General, National Lottery Regulatory Commission, Mr Bello Maigari, and Mr Okechukwu Odunna. Moreover, Dr Stella Maduka, Mrs Okunade Sarah, Mr Simon Tyungu, Mr Jude Ughwujabo, and representatives from CBN, EFCC, plus the Nigeria Police Force are also involved in the committee. 

Gbajabiamila concluded: “The central monitoring system will capture any leakage, all the operators in Nigeria will be connected to that platform and it will capture online transactions so there’s no way anybody can hide.”