FG to Revitalise Lottery as Additional Source of Income, Says SGF
By Segun Awofadeji in Bauchi
As part of efforts to diversify the economy and generate more revenue, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) Boss Mustapha has expressed the federal government’s determination to revitalise the lottery industry as an additional source of income.
This comes as the Acting Executive Secretary, National Lottery Trust Fund (NLTF), Mallam Bello Maigari, has reaffirmed the agency’s commitment to promoting quality health care delivery services to communities across the country through the application of lottery proceeds.
The SGF, who was speaking during the commissioning and presentation of medical equipment donated by the NLTF to the General Hospital in Toro, Bauchi State Friday, explained that the move was in consideration of the current instability in the prices of oil and world economic downturn.
Represented by the Permanent Secretary, Special Duties in the office of the SGF, William Alo, Mustapha said: “The federal government is saying today that wherever the needed resources may be, this administration led by President Muhammadu Buhari will find them, harness them, and apply them for the benefit of the generality of the Nigerian people.”
According to him, “Having made a careful study of history and the happenings in other jurisdictions as stated earlier in this address, the federal government is convinced of the enormous potential which lottery holds for the development of this nation.”
Mustapha noted that government was presently in the process of approving new regulations and operational guidelines as provided under the National Lottery Act of 2005 with a view to strengthening the capacity of the National Lottery Commission and the NLTF to perform their functions effectively.
He therefore urged persons and organisations licensed to engage in the national lottery to sit up and perform or have their licences revoked.
Also speaking, the Acting Executive Secretary, NLTF, Maigari, reaffirmed the agency’s commitment to promoting quality health care delivery services to communities across the country through the application of lottery proceeds.
Maigari asked lottery and gaming operators and permit holders to keep to their obligations of remitting 20 per cent lottery proceeds directly to the Trust Fund, warning that government would no longer tolerate practices that undermine the growth and development of the sector in the country.
According to him, “Section 40 (a) of the National Lottery Act 2005, the law establishing the agency, empowers it to utilise proceeds generated from all national lottery operations for execution of good cause projects across the country for the benefit and well being of the Nigerian people.”
Maigari said that equipping the Toro General Hospital through the funding from the national lottery, “is a clear demonstration of the federal government’s desire to foster better inclusion of the most vulnerable segments especially women and children”.
He therefore urged lottery and gaming operatives, permit holders and licences and business promoters that engage in promotional lottery to keep to their obligation of remitting 20 per cent lottery process directly to the trust fund as required by law.
He said that the intervention will assist Toro community to address its immediate needs in the area of providing prompt access to good medical attention.
“Toro is the only third community to receive this type of special intervention in the area of health in Nigeria,” he said, and then urged that the facilities be put to good use in the hospital for the benefit of the people.
He said the Trust Fund is saddled with the mandate to promote the total well-being of the citizens, adding that their intervention in the General Hospital in Toro was meant to enhance the capacity of the hospital to cater for the well-being of its patients.
In her remarks, the Permanent Secretary, Ecological Fund, Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (OSGF), Mrs Habiba Lawal, praised the government for the gesture and appealed for maintenance of the health equipment donated to the hospital.
In his keynote address, the Bauchi State Governor, Mohammed Abubakar, who was represented by the Commissioner for Finance, Alhaji Akuyam, commended the agency for considering Toro General Hospital for the donation.
He said health was one the priorities of the administration, adding that efforts would be made to address the challenges facing hospitals in the state, particularly the Toro General Hospital because it serves not only people from the state but those from Plateau and Kaduna States as well.
There were goodwill remarks from Alhaji Adamu Zubairu, District Head of Toro; Alhaji Rilwanu Adamu, Emir of Bauchi; and a vote of thanks by the Medical Director of Toro General Hospital, Mr Istifanus Zakka, who received the allocation letter from the agency.
THISDAY reports that the equipment donated to the hospital include Anaesthetic machine, operation table, wheel chairs, screen and suction machine.
Others were blood pressure apparatus, stool with castor, blood bank, haematocrit and sponge holding forceps.
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