The National Lottery Trust Fund (NLTF) has thanked the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for wading into a misunderstanding between the Lottery Commission and two prominent lottery companies namely KC Gaming aka Bet9ja and Premier Lotto, popularly known as Baba Ijebu, a move that has culminated in the two betting giants to pay a combined total of ₦1,000,000,322.50 in remittance to the Federal Government of Nigeria, being arrears of money owed as a result of failure to remit 20 per cent of their turnover to the Federal Government of Nigeria, as stipulated by the law.
In a recent letter to the EFCC, Bello Maigari, the Executive Secretary of the Fund, said that “We are pleased to report that due to the diligent execution of the on-going strategic engagement between the NLTF, NLRC and the EFCC, recovery of unremitted fees by some lottery operators has been made.
“The board and management of NLTF wish to convey our appreciation for your patriotic intervention in ensuring the immediate recovery of government’s due remittances for good causes.
“Furthermore, we commend the EFCC team spearheading the exercise for their doggedness and professionalism in rooting out corruption in the sector and restoring sanity to lottery and gaming operations.”
An analysis of the payments made shows Premier Lotto (Baba Ijebu) remitted N833,333,494.58, while KC Gaming (Bet9ja) remitted N166,666,827.92, which is about ₦1Billion. Section 24(3) of the National Lottery Act 2005 mandates that “a licensee shall pay to the Trust Fund, established under Section 35 of this Act, within a period of not more than 90 days after the determination of the result of each lottery, an amount of 20 per cent of the proceeds of the lottery for the first 5 years of the licence, 25 per cent in the subsequent 5 years and thereafter 27.5 per cent.”
The National Lottery Trust Fund is under the operation of the Ministry of Special Duties & Intergovernmental Affairs. The Minister for Special Duties and Intergovernmental Affairs , Senator George Akume, on 20th of January, 2020 wrote a petition to the EFCC, disclosing that “Since the inception of lottery business in Nigeria in 2007, only over N9 billion has been remitted into the Federal Government coffers till date.” He lamented that it was absolutely unacceptable to the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari. Therefore, he advised that the Commission intervene in the matter he has observed, saying that, “efforts made by the National Lottery Regulations Commission to recover outstanding debts owed the Federal Government by the operators have proved abortive. Therefore, the Ministry was left with no option than to draw the attention of your Commission to assist in that regard as this act by the operators is purely an economic sabotage.”
There has been an upsurge in remittance by government establishments in recent years, as witnessed by the huge remittance from the Customs Service, JAMB, FIRS, and the like. This latest development is a refreshing news to the Federal Government as she seeks avenues for funds as the COVID-19 pandemic has affected budgetary plans.