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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

NCC enters pact with NLRC, explains GSM lotteries


The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and National Lottery Regulatory Commission (NLRC) on Tuesday in Abuja entered into a pact with the signing of a Memorandum of Understand (MoU).
This is coming as NCC explained that NLRC has the regulatory backing to sanction any lottery on the platform of Global System for Mobile (GSM) operators in the country.

According to the Head, Media and Public Relations at NCC, Mr. Reuben Muoka, in a press statement made available to ITRealms Online, said that the explanation over GSM lotteries became important following assuming confusion over the issue of lotteries by the telecom service providers.

NCC, he said, insisted that the National Lottery Regulatory Commission has the powers to regulate lotteries by the service providers as well as sanction any operator who defaults on any issues related to lotteries in the country.

He quoted the Executive Vice Chairman of the NCC, Dr. Eugene Juwah who spoke at the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), between the Commission and NLRC, as saying that the Commission is only responsible for regulating the services and infrastructure provisioning of the operators but does not regulate lotteries.

Juwah also said NCC is concerned where such lotteries degrade the quality of service as the Commission would not sit by and allow operators degrade quality of service beyond the performance indicators given to them.

“It is the lottery Commission that would say whether an activity is a lottery, who has to pay what, how much to pay to a winner. And the operators need to know that the lottery Commission does not need our approval to enforce their laws against any operator who defaults in the practice of lottery,” he said.

In his remarks, Director General, NLRC, Mr. Peter Igho, commended the Commission for the revolution it has brought in the industry, adding that the MoU is part of the efforts to partner with respective stakeholders to ensure that a viable industry is built on bedrock of good practices.

He further said that lottery players have invested big sums of money and materials to grow the laudable business and that the mobile lottery or sms lottery which the mobile phone has made possible is a welcome development that should support the mainstream lottery.

“But unfortunately, some who have used this mechanism have done so with a lack of integrity and transparency that has given lottery a bad name,” he said.

As said by him, though, lottery has been used over the ages worldwide, not only to empower people but also to raise money to support government in providing infrastructure and other good causes.

Mr. Igho, therefore, advised phone users to differentiate between promos which are mere incentives given to subscribers, and lottery which is game of chance where people are advised to enter based on some form of payments or deductions after which a draw takes place where a winner is selected by chance.

He equally explained that when the rules are followed, the NLRC ensures that the winners get the exact thing promised by the lottery operator and that the operators also pay appropriate fees and deductions to the government in such way funds realized will be used for social and infrastructure development and not for profiteering by the operating company.

Muoka, emphasized that the introduction to the MoU stated that one of the essence of the agreement was to avoid regulatory overlaps and create regulatory certainty for the benefit of all stakeholders in the telecommunications and lottery sector, as the parties recognize a need for cooperation in the discharge of their functions as it relates to the issue of lottery and consumer protection in the telecommunications sector.

Remmy Nweke

ITREALMS Online ... delivering news for ICT4D

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