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House to amend Lottery act for proper regulation, greater benefits

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House to amend Lottery act for proper regulation, greater benefits

House committee on Governmental Affairs has reiterated its commitment to amending the National Lottery Act, for proper regulation of gambling industry in Nigeria to tap from its revenue yielding potential and job creation
The committee which oversees the gambling industry in Nigeria said it will review the 2017 Lottery act to come up with a bill that will be more comprehensive, robust and up to date to guard the industry.
Chairman of the committee Honorable Akin Alabi said the potentials of the industry in terms of revenue and employment can be fully harnessed only when the laws guiding the business are up to date.”The meeting is about amending the National Lottery Act, which is a law that regulate the gambling industry in Nigeria. “It is an act that a lot of practitioners in the industry from the operators to the regulators feel it is inadequate, not robust enough.”They feel it is outdated, and obsolete and it is not harnessing the power and the potentials in the industry. So we are forming a technical committee to review the act to come up with a bill that will be more comprehensive, robust and up to date to guard the industry.””Everybody knows the potentials of the lottery gaming industry in Nigeria but a lot of people don’t actually know the real deal, the real number, some people are just brandishing numbers up and down. “There is potential for tax revenues for the Government and potentials for the investors to make money back, there is potential to created direct jobs, employment. He said without adequate law guiding the lottery industry there is going to be a lot of trial and error ‘but with a robust law we will be able to harness all the potentials.’
Chairman of the Nigerian Licensed Lottery Operators Forum Chima Onwuka lamented that the challenge of multiple regulations has become the bane of the lottery business in Nigeria.He said the industry is burdened with multiple taxation which has necessitated the need for a complete law.
He spoke yesterday when the House committee on Governmental Affairs inaugurated a technical committee for the review of the 2017 lottery act as ammended.”Let’s look at the taxation part of it, we pay State tax, local Government and at the Federal level we also pay tax. We also pay a percentage of our entire take which goes to the federal Coffers.He said there is the Lottery fund which is 20%, annual subscription and the one they call good causes.He said the innauguration of the technical committee is basically to review the 2017 lottery act as amended to incorporate the new realities the operators are going through and to remove some of the incessant conflict operators are having with Government regulators for proper means of regulation.”The committee has set up a technical committee to review it and make sure that everybody; both the regulator and operators interests can be protected as well as government.””For a long time the law did not represent the fact that we are a fixed odd country not a jackpot country, most of the games in this country are fixed odds that is one area we want to look at. “We also want the law to recognize the fact that every operator that goes into the market invest billions of Naira in the business and there has to be a gestation period. “There have to be a way the Government can partner through a joint account just like they have with oil companies which they call the JB fund. “It might not be money but let the Government come out openly to say a particular operator is licensed to be backed up instead of everyday, EFCC calling operators thieves.He said the law would also clear the air on the issue of who has the authority to regulate, whether it is Federal or the State. ‘For now when you pay to the Federal you also pay to the State.’On the value of lottery to Government, he challenged the Government to check with the National Bureau of Statistics to know the number of people the lottery industry is employing.”Anywhere government can create employment it is encouraged, if lottery and its accessory businesses can employ about one million people directly and indirectly that is contributing a lot to the Government. “The Government is also generating a lot of revenues, go to the website of the lottery trust fund and see how much what operators have paid to the Government in billions and check out what they have paid to Government in terms of tax to FIRS. Check out also what they have paid to State Governments.”He said, late last from the lottery fund of what they regulate Lagos State lottery fund was able to give the Lagos State security fund N1b.He said it is because Lagos State as of today has one of the best laws and environment for lottery. Onwuka however observed that the conflict of who is to regulate and who not to regulate still persists.

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Legislature

Senate President gets commendation for sponsorship of 100 weddings

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Senate President gets commendation for sponsorship of 100 weddings

Some serving and former lawmakers from Yobe State have applauded the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan for offering helping hand to some underprivileged youths and orphans in Yobe State to realise their dreams of getting married.

The lawmakers also lauded Lawan for his thoughtfulness in considering the new couples for skill acquisition programme which will empower them to stand on their own.

They made the commendation at the weekend at a mass wedding conducted for another batch of 100 couples at the Central Mosque, Nguru in Yobe State.

The new couples were from Nguru and Karasuwa Local Government Areas of the State.

The first batch of 100 couples from Bade and Jakusko Local Government Areas had their turn in Gashua in September while the last batch of 100 intending couples from Machina and Yusufari Local Government Areas are expected to have their dreams realised soon to make up the six Local Government Areas in Yobe North Senatorial District.

Speaking at the ceremony on Saturday, former Majority Leader in the House of Representatives, Hon. Sani Dahiru Elkatuzu, described the mass wedding and skill acquisition Programmes by the Senate President for the poor as impacting positively on the lives of the youths in Yobe North.

According to him, this has made them embrace responsibilities that come with marriage and caused them to shun a life of crime and violence which they otherwise would have turned to due to hardship and unemployment.

“We believe that most of the problems we are having with the youths around here is because they cannot afford certain basic things of life.

“Part of it is, if they cannot afford to have families of their own when they are ready to get married, and because of financial difficulties, then it becomes a problem.

“That is why I believe the Senate President decided to assist in this regard. From experience on the one conducted in Bade and Jakusko, the people are really impressed and happy that this is happening.

“It did not only stop at getting them married, the Senate President also went ahead to train and empower them with skills with which they can fend for themselves and their families.

“Any effort that can reduce the number of unemployed youths from the streets is definitely a step in the right direction, and that is exactly what is happening here.

“A lot of our youths are getting married and trained in skills to enable them secure for themselves the basic necessities of life. It is commendable, and everyone in the society is praising the Senate President for this,” Elkatuzu said.

He added that with the replacement of rural provisions by urbanization needs, there is a gap created which the Senate President’s skill acquisition programme seeks to bridge by ensuring the youths within the various constituencies have access to requisite skills needed to cater to their basic needs.

According to the former lawmaker, most of these youths in the past before the the intervention programmes of Senate President Ahmad Lawan, were considered ideal candidates by Boko Haram for recruitment.

“Culturally, those of us around here in the North East feel as long as you’re not married, you’re still a child and the responsibility of your parents and extended family.

“Now, one cannot attain full responsibility in life if he does not work and have a family of his own. And in order to make this young men responsible, we have to get them married.

“This is a cultural issue, as you’re not considered responsible if you don’t have a family of your own. Therefore, what the Senate President is doing is making them responsible by helping them have families of their own.

“In addition to that, a lot of the means of livelihood are gone because they are supposed to be based on rural provisions. Now, we have urbanization in place and people do not have the required skills to engage in trades that are associated with urbanization.

“The kind of skills that are being impacted on these young men are the kind that will keep them up to date with the realities of modern day society.

“Also, most of our young men do not have businesses or skills that would afford them to make decent living, and that is why they are prone to the Boko Haram recruitment.

“But with the kind of skills they are getting now, you will realize they don’t get recruited. They have shunned all forms of violence and they are no longer likely to be recruited because they now have a trade of their own”, he said.

Speaking at the Emir of Nguru’s Palace moments before the couples were wedded at the Nguru Central Mosque, the Speaker of the Yobe State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon Ahmed Lawan Mirwa, lauded the Senate President for fulfilling the promise made to the youths during his Campaigns ahead of the 2019 elections.

“By this, the Senate President has fulfilled his promise that he made during his campaign tour to the youths of our various constituencies.

“Today, we thank Almighty Allah that we have seen the marriages of one hundred ladies within two local governments; that is Karasuwa and Nguru local governments.

“Each local government married fifty each, and we thank the Senate President for providing all that is needed for the success of these marriages,” Mirwa said.

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Communities in Katcha get Two Cottage Hospitals courtesy of SMA

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Communities in Katcha get Two Cottage Hospitals courtesy of SMA

Efforts of the Member representing Bida/Gbako/Katcha Federal Constituency, Saidu Musa Abdul, (SMA) has started yielding dividends of democracy for the people as the long suffering residents of Niwoye and Dagba-Kota got a cottage hospital each in their communities.
This was contained in a statement issued by the Senior Legislative Aide to the Housw of representative member
Engr. Dodo Almustapha
According to the statement, the construction of the two cottage hospitals for the communities were part of the capital projects captured in the Appropriation Act of the Federal Republic of Nigeria for 2020 through the representation of the member.
He said, honorable Abdul had reiterated his commitment to alleviating the suffering of the people in accessing quality healthcare services through building of hospitals in the hard-to-reach communities in his Constituency.

Niwoye in Essa Ward and Dagba-Kota in Gbakogi Ward under Katcha Local Government of Niger State, have existed for many years without befitting hospitals where the rural populace could access quality healthcare services.
Upon completion and commissioning of the hospitals, the era of people traveling far and wide to address medical challenges with attendant excruciating bills will be brought to an end.

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Stop balkanisation of your professional bodies, Omo-Agege advises ICAN, PSN

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Stop balkanisation of your professional bodies, Omo-Agege advises ICAN, PSN

Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege has admonished two professional bodies – the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) and the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) to stop further division among their members.
He advised that they engage in dialogue with relevant stakeholders and mobilisation of members’ support to stop alleged plans to balkanise or duplicate the professional associations.
 

Senator Omo-Agege who doubles as Chairman, Senate Adhoc Committee on Constitution Review, stated this in Abuja when  the two associations paid him courtesy visits.

The Delta Central lawmaker applauded the organisations for identifying vibrantly with national aspirations, adding that more home-grown solutions can be developed by them for the benefit of citizens.

Congratulating Dame Onome Joy Adeniyi on her election as National President of ICAN, the legislator expressed the willingness of the National Assembly to support ICAN’s initiatives, stressing that he is an opponent of duplication of professional bodies.
He said: “I do not believe in balkanisation or needless duplication of professional bodies and that is why I will never support a purported New NBA because I always believe that we have enough mechanisms for resolving differences or disputes rather than going to form rival bodies”.

He Pointed out that other members of the National Assembly may have reasons for supporting the Forensic and Investigative Professionals of Nigeria Bill 2020 which ICAN vehemently objects to.
The Deputy President of the Senate urged the Institute to take the issue before other stakeholders, including professional members of ICAN in both chambers of the National Assembly.

Earlier, while receiving leaders of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) on behalf of the President of the Senate, Senator Ahmad Lawan, he called for further research into Covid-19 and other vaccines.

Citing the UTAS payment system developed by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Senator Omo-Agege said pharmacists and other professional associations can develop home-grown solutions to existing challenges.

“We will take a good look at the ‘Pharmacy Council Bill’ as you requested. You can count on us moving forward.
“We support your position about effective regulation of the sale of prescription drugs, especially when some people sell substandard products that can harm many citizens,” he said.

Earlier, Pharmacist Sam Ohuabunwa had called for the National Assembly’s intervention towards getting several ministries, departments and agencies to settle about N17 billion debt being owed pharmaceutical companies across the country.
According to him, the huge debt burden had made it impossible for the local pharmaceutical companies to increase production capacities.

He also called for the passage of the Pharmacy Council Bill towards transforming pharmacy practice and curbing the national health security risk posed by indiscriminate importation of drugs.

He expressed concern that a ‘Bill for an Act to establish the Pharmaceutical Technologists and Pharmacy Technicians Regulatory Council of Nigeria’, which is also before the National Assembly, will not only unsettle Nigeria’s health sector but also balkanise the PSN.
 

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