Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo on Friday in Abuja said the Federal Government would revitalise the lottery industry to make it more productive and meet expected standards.
The Vice-President said this at the official unveiling, commissioning and presentation of sports equipment to 2,000 public primary schools nationwide, purchased by the National Lottery Trust Fund (NLTF).
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the project was aimed at targeting young people especially the physically challenged to develop their potential towards participating actively in sports.
Osinbajo, who was represented by the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, said government was well aware of the introduction of lottery as a revenue-earner.
He added that government was also aware that it could help in transforming heath care, public infrastructure and social services.
“Government as a matter of urgency will revitalise the industry to make it productive, responsive in aligning with our policy of economic diversification, security, job-creation and infrastructural development,’’ the vice-president said.
He added that the present administration was determined to enhance performance in the lottery sub-sector and ensure appropriate service delivery across the nation.
“Our recent assessment of the licensees and operators has not been encouraging at all. But government will soon re-align it to have it meet expected standards.’’
Osinbajo also noted that government would intensify the fight against corruption across board in the country by increasing transparency and accountability in compliance with the rule of law.
“We will fight corruption against all odds, and will plug all leakages and block loopholes in all areas, and this sub-sector will not be left out,’’ he said.
The vice-president however urged all lottery operators to remit appropriately to government coffers, in order to shore up government revenue for infrastructure development and making Nigerians happier.
He assured NLTF of government’s support in its mandate of also funding the rebirth of national heritage, and providing basic health care, access to education, and clean and potable water.
“The mandate of the Trust Fund ties to the socio-economic component of the 2016 budget which are the intervention actions.
“We are confident that NLTF will be able to play its role of contributing to the development of social infrastructure around the nation,’’ Osinbajo added.
Speaking also at the occasion, Babachir Lawal, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), called on the NLTF to ensure proper monitoring of the equipment.
“The next crucial step is the monitoring of these equipment to ensure a full and proper utilisation so as to achieve the desired success,’’ he said.
Lawal urged Nigerians to take a cue from the Western world who used lottery to fund their budget, adding that the lottery industry was capable of generating more revenue.
“Many nations today depend on lottery to fund their budget. Lottery is used to promote development and income distribution. It is being utilised to promote good causes.
“Moreover, Nigerians should get ready for the new dimension whereby the federal government is diversifying the economy to generate more revenue for the country,’’ he said.