A lawmaker in the National Assembly, Senator Cleopas Moses has expressed disappointment that unlike other countries in Africa, Nigeria has not made any fortune from lottery, despite the huge resources available in that industry.
He said it is shameful that the regulators of the industry are nonchalant about using lottery as an alternative source of revenue for the country, alleging that from available indications, few persons may be diverting what is due the country to their pockets.
Speaking in Abuja, at an Investigative Hearing On Lottery Operators in Nigeria by the Senate, the lawmaker frowned at the attitude of officials of the National Lottery Regulatory Commission, led by the Director General, Mr. Lanre Gbajabiamila, for not managing the lucrative sector properly.
“Most of the issues in the country that we are trying to deal with like insecurity, can be attributed to poverty, unemployment and hunger. And this is so because as a nation, we do not have enough resources to deal with these issues.
“As it is today, we are operating a mono-economy, depending mainly on oil. And we are hearing that in a short while, oil may be exhausted, although we don’t know when. Therefore, every reasonable government is looking for alternative sources of revenue.
“So, I am amazed and surprised that this lottery industry can offer this country a lot of money that can be directed to help our youths and women in the aspects that are lacking. If other countries with smaller population are making this much, then why not Nigeria with close to 200 million people and the right market”?
Cleopas, who represents Bayelsa Central in the Senate, charged the management of the commission to sit up and explore the gold mine in the lottery industry for the benefit of Nigeria and Nigerians.
“According to a report by News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), about 60 million Nigerian adults are involved in active sports betting. A whopping amount of about N2 billion is spent on sports betting daily in Nigeria, which translates to nearly N730 billion in a year. The figure is even more in nations with a lesser population.
“As such, if this sector of the economy is managed properly, the nation can have a viable alternative to which the economy can be diversified to create jobs, generate more revenue that can in turn be injected to other sectors to stimulate further economic growth”, the former Bayelsa PDP chairman said.