Tujoromajo Kasuto

NEW lotteries board members were inaugurated today at a brief press conference at the Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism and for three years from 1 July, 2021 to 30 June, 2024.

The board is chaired by Michael Mutonga with Tabitha Mbome as his deputy and other members are Herlinde Paulino Alcock, Immanuel !Hanabeb, Charlotte N. Kapose and Wycliff Shililifa.

A new Lotteries Act, Act no. 13 of 2017 was passed by Parliament and signed into law by the President of the Republic of Namibia in December 2017. This law will create a new regulatory environment in the lotteries industry once operational soon.

This act provides for the establishment of the Lotteries Board to take govern lotteries business activities in Namibia.

The board is a public regulatory entity with the following functions: to provide for the administering of State Lottery and sports pool themselves or through granting a license, and to establish the State Lottery Trust Fund.

The regulations were also finalised but were yet to be endorsed by the newly appointed board at its inaugural meeting today. Deputy Minister of Environment, Forestry and Tourism, Heather Sibungo, at the inauguration said the Ministry has full confidence in the skills and expertise of the board members.

“We appeal to you to conduct the business of the Lotteries Board with honour, distinction, and complete dedication to the service of the Namibian Government and the public at large,” she advises appealingly.

Sibungo urges the board to ensure that they apply sound corporate governance principles with regard the exercise of their power and functions as stipulated in Part 2, under Section 4 (1) Powers and Functions of the Lotteries Act.

“The ministry would like the Board’s commercial activities to contribute to the economic growth of this country as required in the Harambee Prosperity Plan II and always safeguard inclusive development to benefit all our people in Namibia,” she adds reminding the board that there are urgent and important matters in the industry needing its immediate and utmost attention.

Thus appealing to the board not to delay in taking decisive actions and decisions but also at the same time reminding the board of the potential legal consequences if matters are not done on time and the pending deadlines towards achieving some milestones such as gazetting the regulations and operationalising the Lotteries Act 13 of 2017 and its regulations before the end of this calendar year.

Mutonga says that he and his colleagues are going to unbundle the lotteries law and break it into pieces, whereby they would closely inspect “each and every piece” so that they are able to understand when they start working on it. Subsequently, he adds this would lead them to come up with a strategic plan, which they will share with the minister and management lest they “would be driving with no direction.”