The Nigerian Communications Commission on Monday signed a new Memorandum of Understanding with the National Lottery Regulatory Commission for the use of telecommunications networks to conduct lotteries in the country.
The MoU revised the agreement that was signed between the two government agencies in 2011. It also established a Joint Implementation Committee for the execution of the memorandum.
Justifying the memorandum, both organisations said it was important for them to work together in order to eliminate multiple regulations.
They said it was also important to ensure that whatever telecommunications operators came up with as a lottery was free of fraud.
The Executive Vice Chairman of the NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta, said at the event that the use of telecommunications for additional services such as lottery would give another stress to the networks. He, therefore, stressed the need to ensure that such services did not degrade the system.
He said, “There is no better infrastructure available for the conduct of lotteries in this country than the telecommunications infrastructure. Now, as you are aware, bringing any additional service on the infrastructure adds additional burden to the networks.
“Therefore, the commission is concerned that any additional service to the networks could or may degrade quality of service. That is why the NCC has to be involved from the very beginning to ensure that our operators who will be participating in hosting lottery services have the capacity to do so.
“The lottery regulator will ensure the credibility of the process by making sure that whatever prices promised those who participate in the lotteries is given to them. Whatever is going to accrue from this service has a sharing formula according to which part of the proceeds goes to the owners, price winners and charity and tax benefits to government. And the NCC will get additional royalty.”
The Director-General, NLRC, Mr Lanre Gbajabiamila, said collaboration between the NCC and the NLRC was needed to foster and work together for the betterment of the country.
He said, “The way the industry is right now, the service providers use the telecommunications platforms to do lottery and gaming hence we need to have this collaboration to improve the process and integrity.
“Everything is now technology-driven. There is no how the commission can do it alone. The commission has a platform where all the operators are connected to our system, whereby we are able to actually see the transactions and what is being discharged to the actual winners.
“We also have a process where they give us a monthly report of who won and how much was paid and retained. It is a working process and with this collaboration with the NCC, the commission will be in a better place to regulate better gaming and lottery services.”
Gbajabiamila said committees of both agencies had worked together to ensure the realisation of the agreement as extensive consultations had also been held with telecommunications operators.