The Ghana Lotto Operators Association (GLOA) has reiterated its call on government to reinstate them into the lotto industry as it promised during the 2008 electioneering campaign.
The operators broke their long silence yesterday at a press conference petitioning the President John Mahama and his administration to complete the process of fulfilling the promise of the late President Mills which sought to restore lawful employment to many Ghanaians who were affected by the promulgation of the Lotto Act 722.
Seth Amoani, the secretary of the group who read their statement, recalled that on March 19, 2008, the late Prof. Mills promised to amend Act 722 to allow private participation in lotto at Takoradi during the 2008 campaign which eventually contributed in bringing the National Democratic Congress (NDC) into power.
According to him, the late president, together with Finance Minister Dr. Kwabena Duffuor, ex-Attorney-General, Betty Mould-Iddrissu on February 17, 2009, met on several occasions with executives of GLOA to discuss the way forward.
He said the meetings yielded some positive results as the ministers were requested to consider modalities for amending Act 722.
However the late president pledge could not be fulfilled due to his untimely death.
He observed that the criminalization of private lotto had resulted in abject poverty to its members who were decent citizens and if nothing was done about the situation it would impact negatively on the electoral fortunes of the NDC in the coming election.
GLOA, he said, was a national association of private of lotto operators and “we are bona fide citizens and entrepreneurs of Ghana, who only need government’s support to contribute to tax and create jobs in the informal sector.”
According to him, GLOA did not wish to drive its activities underground but wished to work with government within a legal framework to contribute its quota to the development of Ghana.
Elaborating on how revenue would be generated for the state, Mr. Amoani said with over 500,000 employees of GLOA scattered all over Ghana, “it is our estimation that even if each lotto writer pays a minimum annual registration fee of GH¢100, the state would receive an annual revenue of GH¢50million from registration alone, not to mention the big operators and agents whose annual taxes constitute multiples of what the receivers/writers pay.”
He also mentioned that GLOA in operation would bring additional GH¢22.6 million tax per annum.
Mentioning certain steps that could help revert their problem, the group proposed that government should immediately consider restoring and including GLOA as operators in the lotto industry as provided for under section 2(4) of the lotto Act, take critical view of the contributions of the 500,000 strong employees and their families towards the nation’s development and electoral victory for NDC in 2012.
Mr. Amoani also asked President Mahama to re-organise and streamline the operations of National Lotto Authority (NLA) for it to serve as a sole licensing authority that would regulate both state and private lotto operators.
He assured government of their co-operation to promote private sector revenue generation from the lotto business by working with any government committee to register their members for their participation. He also said they would open their books for proper accounting and auditing concerning taxes and statutory contributions.
“Private Lotto operators in the immediate past created several jobs in the informal sector in the districts and regions of Ghana. More jobs can be created out of the restoration of private sector participation in lotto, to help the government improve the standard of living of our people at the grassroots,” Mr. Amoani said.
In 1989, the PNDC Law 223 was passed to promote and ensure private sector participation in the lotto industry in Ghana by streamlining the operations of private lotto, create employment at districts, raise revenues and break the monopoly of NLA.
Under this law, 32 companies were duly registered to operate and by 2006, these companies had employed about 500,000 agents and writers all over Ghana, making private lotto the highest employer in all the districts with GH¢20 million annually.
Source: Daily Guide
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