NATIONAL LOTTERY TRUST FUND PASSES LITMUS TEST IN PROMOTING LOTTERY GOOD CAUSES FOR NIGERIANS
The National Lottery Trust Fund (NLTF) established about ten years ago under the national Lottery Act 2005, was mandated to carry out the following functions; receive and credit into its account all monies payable into the Trust Fund, make all disbursements required to be made out of the Trust Fund, collaboration with relevant Agencies and Bodies to implement or facilitate the implementation of any project approved by the president, on the recommendation of the Board of Trustees carry out other activities as are necessary or expedient to ensure the effective performance of its functions under the Act.
Furthermore, section 40 of the Lottery Act empowers the Trust Fund to apply the proceeds of the lottery so collected under section 35 to fund projects considered and approved by the President, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, upon the recommendation of the Board of Trustees to be in the interest of the Nigerian Community and such projects shall include but not limited to projects for the advancement, upliftment and promotion of sports development, education, social services, public welfare and relief and management of natural disasters in Nigerian.
Unfortunately, the lottery business in Nigeria is quite alien to the populace, hence, it takes great skill and concerted effort to nurture and develop it in order to reap the wealth accrued through lottery for the benefit of Nigerians.
The jinx was ironically broken on Friday 20th May, 2016 when the Trust Fund in the full glare of Nigerians officially unveil, commissioned and presented branded world class sports equipment in the following sports; Athletics, Badminton, Handball, Basketball, Volleyball, Football, Judo, Table Tennis and Taekwondo to 2000 Public Primary Schools nation-wide in promoting grassroots sports development. This epoch making breakthrough obviously demonstrates that with lottery money, Nigeria can successfully replicate the great wall of China, build the ivy league institutions, and build the equivalent of Harvard and Yale, host the most glamorous global sporting events and carry out intervention in other areas such as education, health, provision of portable water, social services, public welfare and relief and management of natural disasters etc.
The Vice-President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, His Excellency Prof. Oluyem Oluleke Osinbajo, SAN, GCON, corroborated the thinking that wealth generated through lottery would foster sustainable development.
According to Prof. Osinbajo who was represented at the event by Dr. Chris Ngige, Honourable Minister of Labour and Employment, the progress made by the National Lottery Trust Fund is not surprising as government is well aware of the huge potentials of lottery as a revenue earner and its promise for transforming sports, public infrastructure and social services. He said that recent assessment of the performance of licensees and other operators in the lottery sector is not encouraging and government as a matter of urgency will revitalize the industry to make it more productive, responsive to returns to good causes and align with government policy of inclusive growth, economic diversification, security, job creation and infrastructure. The Vice-President noted that government objectives under the able leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR is clear, as the administration is determined to ensure enhanced Performance in service delivery to Nigerians with transparency in public procurement, probity and accountability in governance. He therefore assured that government will block all wastes and leakages, curtail corruption in the system revamp the dwindling statutory remittance from lottery licensees and operators and channel resources to key government programmes and projects that will bring succor to ordinary Nigerians.
Remittance received from lottery operators and promoters in part has been applied to support the 9th All African Games in Algiers in 2007, sponsored Police West Africa Games 2009, open offices in all the geo-political zones of the country (Lagos, Enugu, Port Harcourt, Makurdi, Bauchi and Kano) and sponsored “Kids and Play” Holidays sports programme, which is an after school sports initiatives for children between the age bracket of 9 and 14.
Therefore, the event of 20th May, 2016 at the (Gen) Shehu Musa Yar’ Adua Memorial Centre central Business District, Abuja, is an indication that the Lottery industry if properly taken into consideration and provided with the enabling environment to operate, will be another viable revenue generator in the country, especially with the present administration’s drive to diversify the economy.