By Segun AwofadejiÂ in Bauchi
As part of efforts to diversify the economy and generate more revenues, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF),Boss MustaphaÂ Â has expressed the Federal Government’sÂ Â determination to revitalise lottery industry as an additional source of income.Â
This is so as the ActingÂ Â Executive Secretary, National Lottery Trust Fund(NLTF),Mallam Bello MaigariÂ Â has reaffirmed the Agency’s commitment to promoting quality health careÂ Â delivery servicesÂ Â to communities across the countryÂ Â through the application of lottery proceeds.
Â The SGF who spokeÂ Â during the inaugurationÂ Â and presentation of medical equipment donated by the NLTF to General Hospital, Toro, Bauchi State yesterday explained that the move was in consideration of the current instability in the prices of oil and world economic downturn.Â
Represented by the permanent secretary, special duties in the office of the SGF, William Alo, Boss Mustapha explained thatÂ Â Â “The Federal Government is saying today that wherever the needed resources may be, this administration led by President Muhammadu Buhari will find them, harness them, and apply them for the benefit of the generality of the Nigerian people”.
According to him, ” Having made a careful study of history and the happenings in other jurisdictions as stated earlier in this address, the Federal Government is convinced of the enormous potential which lottery holds for the development of this nation”.Â
Mustapha noted that government was presently in the process of approving new regulations and operational guidelines as provided under the National Lottery Act of 2005 with a view to strengthening the capacity of the National Lottery Commission and the National Lottery Trust Fund to perform their functions effectively.Â
He therefore urged persons and organisations licensed to engage in the national lottery to sit up and perform or have their licenses revoked.
Also speaking, ActingÂ Â Executive Secretary, National Lottery Trust Fund(NLTF),Mallam Bello MaigariÂ Â reaffirmed the Agency’s commitment to promoting quality health careÂ Â delivery servicesÂ Â to communities across the countryÂ Â through the application of lottery proceeds.
Maigari asked lottery and gaming operators permit holders to keep to their obligations of remitting 20 per cent lottery proceeds directly to the Trust Fund warning that government would no longer tolerate practices that undermine the growth and development of the sector in the country.Â
According to him,Â Â “Section 40 (a) of the National Lottery Act 2005 , the law establishing the agency, empowers it to utiliseÂ Â proceeds generated from all national lottery operationsÂ Â for execution of good cause projects across the country for the benefit and wellbeing of the Nigerian people”
Maigari said that equipping of the Toro General Hospital through the funding from the national lottery, “is a clear demonstration of the federal government’s desire to foster better inclusion of the most vulnerable segments especially women and children”
He therefore urged lottery and gaming operatives, permit holders and licences and business promoters that engage in promotional lottery to keep to their obligation of remitting 20 per cent lottery process directly to the trust fund as required by law
He said that the intervention would assist Toro community to address its immediate need in the area of providing prompt access to good medical attention.
“Toro is the only third community to receive this type of special intervention in the area of health in Nigeria,” he said and urged that the facilities be put to good use in the hospital for the benefit of the people.
He said the Trust Fund was saddled with the mandate to promote the total well-being of the citizens adding that their intervention in the general hospital Toro was meant to enhance the capacity of the hospital to cater for the well-being of its patients.
In her remarks, the Permanent Secretary,Â Â Permanent SecretaryÂ Â Â Ecological Fund, Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (OSGF),Â Â Mrs. Habiba Lawal, praised the government for the gesture and appealed for maintenance of the health equipment donated to the hospital.
In his keynote address, Bauchi State Governor, Mohammed Abubakar who was represented by the commissioner of finance, Alhaji Akuyam commended the agency for considering Toro General hospital for the donations.
He said health was one the priorities of the administration and assured that efforts would be taken to address the challenges facing hospitals in the state, particularly the Toro General hospital because it serves not only people from the state but those from Plateau and Kaduna as well.
There wereÂ Â goodwill remarks from Alhaji Adamu Zubairu, District head of Toro, Alhaji Rilwanu Adamu, Emir of Bauchi, and a vote of thanks by the Medical Director of Toro General hospital, Mr. Istifanus Zakka, who receivedÂ Â the allocation letter from the agency.Â
THISDAY reports that the equipment donated to the hospital include, Anaesthetic machine, operation table, wheel chairs, screen and suction machine.Â
Others were Blood Pressure Apparatus,Â Â stool with castor, blood bank, hematocrit and sponge holding forceps.