SENATORS have threatened to shut down the operations of Nigerian betting chain Bet9ja over the company’s repeated refusal to appear before the National Assembly to answer questions about the amount of tax it pays the government.
In line with the government’s policy of increasing its tax revenue, the National Assembly has been asking the senior executives large companies to appear before it and provide details of their remittances. Nigeria has one of the lowest gross domestic product (GDP)-to-tax ratios in the world of just 6%, compared with 15.8% in Egypt, 20% in Ghana and 26.9% in South Africa.
Bet9ja, Nigeria’s number one bookmaker is believed to be highly profitable and senators have invited its manager to provide accounts of their operations. So far, they have failed to and yesterday, after Bey9ja senior managers failed to honour a second invitation to appear before the senate committee on youth. and sport, lawmakers said they are considering shutting its operations down.
Speaking yesterday in Abuja during the verification of lottery companies with licences to operate in Nigeria, Senator Obinna Ogba, the chairman of the senate committee on youth and sport, noted that it was unfortunate that Bet9a refused to honour their invitation. He noted that the senate was making efforts to assist the lottery commission to generate money for the federal government.
Senator Ogba said: “Clerk, write to Bet9ja again. If they did not honour your our invitation again, we will ask the National Lottery Commission to seal their offices.
“We wanted to see bet9ja. They can’t run away.”
According to Senator Ogba, their verification followed series of complains against the betting companies, adding that some do not even have offices while others have not been making remittances to the government. He added that while verifying about 20 betting companies that honoured the senate’s invitation, they found that some have licenses but they are not operating and the new regulations give them one year to start or lose these licences.