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Break NLA Monopoly – Gov’t Urged   
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Ghana Lottery Operators Association (GLOA) has made a clarion call on the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) to open up the operation of lotteries in the country to private participation, touting private participation as solution to the problem of low revenue returns from lotteries.

At a press conference held in Accra yesterday, GLOA, which has explicitly stated support for the Veterans Association of Ghana (VAG) in its litigation with the National Lotteries Authority (NLA), said the low returns on revenue from lotteries are ample testament to the poisonous nature of the NLA’s monopoly in the sector.

GLOA Secretary, Seth Asante Amoani, and Acting Chairman, Dan Borsor, who signed the statement, pointed out that swaying monopoly had become a comfort zone for the NLA and lolled it into a cozy breeding ground for corruption.

The statement by the two urged the government to discourage the NLA’s suit against VAG, saying a move like that would be first good step in the direction of breaking the monopoly of the NLA in a country where the private sector is touted as the engine of growth.

The NLA is in court to seek a proper interpretation of Act 844 (2012) which was promulgated by the ruling party during the administration of the late President Evans Atta Mills.

Act 844 had been promulgated to improve Act 722 (2006) by the erstwhile New Patriotic Party (NPP) regime, which according to GLOA had made the NLA a looming monopoly over the lotteries sector.

GLOA underscores that under Act 844, VAG had been granted rights that included the power to license GLOA members. If the government allows the NLA to use legal technicalities to blunt the rights of VAG under Act 844, it means, the NLA would be allowed to interfere in the licensing of GLOA’s members.

“We the private sector lottery operators (GLOA) wish to state unequivocally that we will not allow the NLA to interfere with our licensing by VAG,” the statement had vowed.

In addition to the fact that opposition to the NLA would be a protection of its members’ interest, GLOA said the opposition was also a sacred duty to the memory of the late Prof. Mills.

According to them, Prof. Mills, on assuming the Presidency from President Kufuor of the NPP, had promulgated Act 844 to correct the problems generated by Kufuor’s Act 722.

In the journey to correcting Act 722, the statement recalled, the Department of National Lotteries had taken to pure lies and equivocation against GLOA, convincing the NPP to ignore them in pre-passage consultation because GLOA was the source of finance for the NDC’s campaign.

This propaganda against it, according to GLOA, was blindly followed by the NPP into promulgating Act 722 (2006) which gave the NLA monopoly in lotteries.

“The abysmal failure of NLA to account properly for its promise of revenue maximization under Kojo Andah and his clique, leading to bad investment and naked corruption in the procurement of lotto equipment until his final removal must not be forgotten by the Government.

“It is clear vindication of un-sustainability of a monopoly in an era of private sector development,” the statement said.

Against the foregoing, GLOA said it was therefore to the good credit of the late Professor Mills and his memory as a true champion of private sector utility, and not a mere rhetorician, that Act 844 (2012) was promulgated.

The statement urged the Mahama led administration to step its foot down and to ensure that the NLA does not use legal technicalities to weaken the efficacy of Act 844 since if the NLA is allowed to do that, it would amount to a desecration of the memory of the later Prof. Mills.

Apart from this, the statement said history showed that private sector participation in lotteries in Ghana was profitable.

When lotteries was being operated under PNDC Law 223 (1989), the statement said, many Ghanaian entrepreneurs took advantage in the lotteries sector, resulting in massive increase in revenue to government.

On its own, GLOA said, its employment of over 500,000 people across the country has not been a major source of job availability but also a source of great revenue to government in the form of taxes.

“It is our estimation that even if each lotto writer pays an annual registration fee of GH˘500, the state is likely to receive an annual revenue of GH˘250,000,000, not to mention the operators and agents whose annual taxes constitute multiples of what the receivers/writers pay,” the statement said.
Source: The Enquirer

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