With a crawling economy, the Nigerian Senate has decided to focus on strengthening the country’s lottery sector to further gear up revenue.
The Senate is doing this through an amendment to the National Lottery Act 2005 sponsored by Senator Dino Melaye, Daily Trust reports.
This idea has become important, especially following the continued slide of the naira which recently switched to N285 to a dollar at the interbank market.
Melaye, representing Kogi West, argued at a session of the Senate on Wednesday that if strengthened, lottery has the capacity to compete with crude oil in terms of revenue generation.
According to him, the government is not making much from the lottery sector because of the massive corruption that has taken over it.
The senator said: “The era whereby an investor will generate N50 billion from lottery in the country and remit only five percent to the government is gone.”
In his contribution, the deputy Senate president, Ike Ekweremadu, noted that the country underestimates what it could generate from the lottery sector.
He said: “This is one of our major contributions to enhance the revenue base in the era of revenue crunch.”
On his part, Senate leader, Ali Ndume, said: “Ordinarily, if one is not associated to lottery and gambling, he will not know what is happening there.
“If more revenue will be paid to government, I support the bill.”
The Senate president, Bukola Saraki, who presided over the session, revealed that the government can generate up to N350 billion annually from the sector.
“We are looking for funds in order to provide necessary infrastructures for the populace.
“We have underestimated the kind of revenue in the sector. It is estimated that government can generate N350 billion annually from the sector,” Saraki said before he referred the bill to the Senate committee on youth and sports for further work.
The committee has four weeks to report back to the Senate.
This amendment is coming about 24 hours after the House of representatives passed 13 bills within 20 minutes. The bills were passed after they were read a third time.