•Prof Umar Garba Danbatta
By Emmanuel Elebeke
The Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC and the national Lottery Regulatory Commission, NLRC signed the revised Memorandum of Understanding, MoU on electronic lottery system in the country.
The MoU is expected to empower Nigerian telecommunication service Consumer who may be among the many that will participate in the lottery that are going to be hosted on telecommunications networks by the NLRC.
The two Commissions have an existing MoU since 2011, and deemed it appropriate to review the MoU in line with a provision that stipulates doing the renewal every four years.
In his remarks after inking the document on behalf of NCC, the Executive Vice Chairman of the Commission, Prof. Umar Danbatta said, the agreement rhymed in two places of the 8 Point agenda of the NCC in the area of strategic collaboration and partnership with other agencies of government and in the area of protecting and empowering the consumer.
He however explained that the NCC got involved because the service about to be introduce will add additional burden to the network, adding that the Commission was concerned that any burden on the telecommunication’s infrastructure may conspire to degrade quality of service.
‘‘In fact, by signing the MoU, we are giving life to that item of our eight point agenda. The whole idea is to cooperate in order to provide the environment, with facilities so to speak for the lottery commission to host lotteries in the country and because lotteries all over the world are electronically driven.
‘‘There is no better infrastructure available to the conduct of lotteries in this country than the telecommunications infrastructure. 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 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 the lottery services have the capacity to do so.
‘‘Whereas the regulatory lottery will ensure the credibility of the process by making sure that whatever prices promised those who will participate in the lotteries are given to them. Whatever is going to accrue from this service; it 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. It is a four way win; government will benefit, lottery commission will benefit, the NCC will benefit and the consumer ( those who will participate in the lotteries).
‘‘Very soon we are going to license our telecommunicators to host lotteries on Telecom network and because the network are regulated by the NCC we need to be involved because the service you are about to introduce will add additional burden to the network and the NCC is always concerned that any burden on the telecommunication’s infrastructure may conspire to degrade quality of service.
‘‘We are very much concerned that this does not happen. Our operators that will be participating in your lotteries have the capacity to host this additional very important service because of the empowerment it will be bringing in the country,’’ he added.
In his address, the Director General of NLRC, Mr. Lanre Gbjiabiamila described the signing of the revised MoU as a dream come through.
According to him, the signing of the MoU between the two commissions has the mandate on regulating telecommunications and also the aspect of lottery in Nigeria.
For him, the collaboration is needed for us to foster together and work together for the betterment of our dear nation.
‘‘Today is long waited for we needed to have this MoU done the way the industry is right now. The channels and service providers use the telecom Communications platforms to do lottery and gaming hence we needed to have this collaboration to improve the processing 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 monthly report of who won and how much was paid and retained it is a working process and with this collaboration with NCC I think the Commission will be a better place to regulate better gaming and lottery services.
‘‘We’ve since had Committees set up and worked to make sure that we have everything in place. We have also met with the operators to have a better understanding to let them know the dos and don’ts of what we need to have in place and I believe with this, it will be easy for all the stakeholders involved to have the ease of doing business, especially when it comes to lottery and gaming industry. And to ensure it’s well-regulated for the integrity and transparency of this industry as we all know what lottery is all about it’s about the game of chance and we do know that without payments being made or winners being given what they won, that defeats the whole purpose of this industry.’’
On issues that will arise from the process, the EVC said: issued will be sorted out by the commission. Issues of access to our network will be addressed by the NCC.
‘‘Our responsibility is to ensure access to qualitative and efficient telecommunications services and this; we are doing daily. If there are issues concerned with access; NCC will address those issues but if there are issues associated with the process; the lottery commission will address those issues.’’