BY SAMUEL ADEBAYO, ABUJA – The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Femi Gbajabiamila has said that the House is ready to empower the National Lottery Regulatory Commission (NLRC), through enabling legislation to empower it to generate more revenue.
Gbajabiamila, who played host to the management team of the commission led by the chairman of the Board, Alhaji Ibikunle Fatai, said the House is willing to come up with relevant laws that would make Nigeria generate more revenue to fund her annual budgets.
Gbajabiamila said; “Yours is a very important agency in terms of revenue generation. As you know, this time, revenue generation is key for us to be able to finance our budget the way we want to finance it. So, yours is a very important agency in terms of government expenditure.
Responding to a request by the chairman of the NLRC Board for the House to amend the law setting up the agency for more efficiency, the Speaker said though the House would be ready to do that, there was need to know what obtains at present.
According to him; “Anytime there’s a need to amend the law to optimise and maximise the efficiency and your revenue profile, we are going to be very willing and ready to do that. But we need to know what the problems are, where you need to plug the holes
“On the Central Monitoring System, I know you have a lot of court cases right now. From what I have come to understand as the issue of Central Monitoring System, I think those things were left behind by the past administration.
“There’s also the nagging issue of state versus federal on who has the constitutional power to give permits and licenses to collect revenue.
“In spite of these challenges you are bedevilled with, I want to commend you, because you have been able to raise your revenue to a very considerable extent.
Earlier, the chairman of the commission’s Board, Alhaji Fatai, said the commission is a revenue-generating agency, and has been doing its best to do that.
Fatai however said; “But the Act that set up the commission has deficiencies, and we have done some amendments, which we will forward to the Speaker.
“There is the issue of a central monitoring system. We don’t have enabling law for us to prosecute those that don’t pay. We are just trying to make sure that we generate revenue. We need an enabling law that will empower us.”