National Lottery Trust Fund Comes Under Probe by House of Representatives on Finance
The House of Representatives on Finance has placed the NLTF under a status enquiry for its 100% spending of Internally Generated Revenue (IGR)
HoR Committee Chairman on Finance James Faleke, representing Ikeja Federal Constituency, Lagos State, queried the Trust Fund’s expenditure practices, his concerns prompted the decision to appoint an external auditor for a comprehensive investigation of the Trust Fund.
The move to investigate the Trust Fund, came after the Executive Secretary/Chief Executive Officer of the Fund, Bello Maigari, disclosed during an interactive session that the Fund generated N2.5 billion in 2023, with the entire sum allegedly utilized for various projects nationwide.
Faleke also called upon the Fiscal Responsibility Commission and the Office of the Accountant General to conduct their own probes and submit reports to the Committee.
Maigari in his submission, explained that the generated funds in 2023 were sourced from statutory remittances by licensees and permit holders.
He added that in 2022, the Fund generated from remittances was N6.8 billion, all of which was spent on project execution including education, sports development, social services, public welfare and disaster management as well as the running cost of the Fund which include emoluments allowances and benefits of board members, as well as salaries and allowances.
After deliberations on the way and manner of expenditure, Faleke announced the initiation of a status enquiry on the National Lottery Trust Fund, clarifying that an external auditor would scrutinize the Fund’s accounts, income, and expenses from inception to the present.
The committee plans to submit its findings to the plenary, and if any wrongdoing is identified, the Fund may be required to refund expenditures and face additional punishment.
Faleke emphasized that, being a fully funded government agency, the Fund is obligated by law to remit 100 percent of its IGR. That is, if they make N3 billion, they are expected to remit N 3billion.
In as much as every government agency should follow due process in their management and financial practices, the National Lottery Trust Fund was created to use proceeds from lottery operations, to effect good causes that will benefit communities, due to the volatile nature of the industry.
If the Fund remits 100% of its IGR to government, how will the “good causes” projects be funded and executed?
The money generated by the Trust should not necessarily go to any government coffers but should directly go back to the citizens in whatever form.
The Trust Fund ought to be the CSR arm of the government with regard to the lottery industry and should remain as such to help bolster the confidence of the people in the industry’s activities.
The government should put more effort in finding ways to minimize harm associated with gaming instead of concentrating on profit maximization to the detriment of social responsibility.