The House of Representatives Committee on Finance, has said that the National Lottery Act 2005 was inconsistent with Nigeria’s constitution and not in the interest of Nigerians.
The committee stated this at its 2022 to 2024 Medium-Term Expenditure Framework/Fiscal Strategy Paper (MTEF/FSP) interactive session with Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).
The lawmakers expressed their worry over some of the provisions of the Act when the management of the National Lottery Trust Fund appeared before the committee on Wednesday, in Abuja.
The Chairman of the Committee Rep. James Faleke (APC-Lagos state) said that the committee was not satisfied with the powers given to the Fund on utilisation of resources.
“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.
“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.
“We are not satisfied with the utilisation of the funds accrued to that agency and that money can save a lot out of our deficit.
“We will look at how the law came and we will amend it; it is completely not in agreement with the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria; there is no national interest at all, it is self centred.,’’ Faleke said.
Also, Rep. Sada Soli (APC-Katsina) described the Act as self-serving and not in the interest of Nigerians nor the interest of the Trust Fund, saying that it will be amended.
Earlier, the Executive Secretary of the Fund, Mr Bello Maigeri said that the Trust Fund had a mandate to intervene in several areas like sports, health, education and disaster management when there was need.
He said that in 2018, most of the activities carried out by the fund covered the areas where it had mandate to intervene.
“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.
“Sub section 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.
“We are to fund our operational vehicles and to carry out very key duties, such as monitoring and valuation, research and development and implement all these good causes under this cost of administration.
“Sub section C empowers the fund to apply part of the proceeds for payment of emolument and allowances of staff and members of the board of trustees of the fund,’’ he said.