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NCC, NLRC new MoU on using stressed networks for lottery’ll collapse service—Expert

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More objections have continued to trail Monday’s collaboration between the telecoms regulator, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and the National Lottery Regulatory Commission (NLRC) for the use of telecommunications networks to conduct lotteries in the country.

Though the understanding revised the agreement that was sealed between the two government agencies in 2011 and established a Joint Implementation Committee for the execution of the memorandum for smooth use of telecoms networks for lottery, there are fears of possible hanging of networks when more Nigerians join in playing lottery.

In an interview, a telecoms investor who pleaded anonymity said “Though lotteries are played on networks in other climes, it is done with solidly improved infrastructures. There had been no time we were told that any of the networks that had been crying for forex and Right of Way (RoW) invested or upgraded its networks to contain the surging effects of lottery traffic and this means that networks will be further stressed.

Continuing, he chided NCC for falling cheaply to the bait set by these foreign lottery portfolio investors who only come to drain disposal incomes of poor Nigerians due to bad governance that has failed to create salutary windows to rip off young Nigerian job seekers.

While signing the understanding with NLRC, the Executive Vice Chairman of the NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta, confirmed that using the current capacity of telecommunications for additional services such as lottery would give another stress to the networks.

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.”

However in his response, the Director-General of NLRC, Mr Lanre Gbajabiamila, who was silent on the challenges coming for the networks, only said that “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.”

He claimed that extensive consultations took place ahead of the involvement of telecoms in promoting lottery.

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