The House of Representatives Committee on Finance has stated that the National Lottery Act 2005 is inconsistent with Nigeria’s constitution, and not in the interest of Nigerians.
This was stated at the 2022 to 2024 Medium-Term Expenditure Framework/Fiscal Strategy Paper (MTEF/FSP) interactive session with Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) in Abuja on Wednesday, chaired by the Committee’s Chairman, Rep. James Faleke.
The Committee cited issues related to the management of the National Lottery Trust Fund. Rep. James Faleke said that the committee was not satisfied with the powers given to the Fund on utilisation of resources.
What the Committee said
“It is not in agreement with the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as to who has the authority to approve the budget; it is not the president, the president shall present, and the National Assembly shall approve,” Rep Faleke said.
“In the meantime, we are giving this directive; that the Budget Office should write a letter to the Trust Fund pending the investigation we intend to carry out on the National Lottery Trust Fund, all revenue remittance to the fund should stop for now.”
He added that the Committee was not satisfied with the utilisation of the funds accrued to the agency and that the money could save a lot of Nigeria’s deficit. He also stated that the Committee would look at how the law originated and pledged to amend it.
”There is no national interest at all; it is self-centred,” Faleke said.
The Executive Secretary of the Fund, Mr Bello Maigeri, revealed that the fund was expected to finance its operational vehicles and carry out very key duties, such as monitoring and valuation, research and development and implementing causes under the cost of administration.
“Section 40 of the Act says proceeds of the trust fund shall be applied from time to time to fund projects approved by the President on the recommendation of the Board of Trustees of the Fund, in the interest of the Nigerian community.
“Such a project shall be for the advancement, upliftment and promotion of sports development, education, social services, welfare, relief, and disaster management in Nigeria.
“Subsection B allows the Fund to use part of the proceeds for the cost of the administration of the Trust Fund; meaning that we are to lease our operational office in the headquarters and in the zones,” he said.