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Lotto operators and agents express dismay about NLA privatization and digitalisation

NLA Boss, Sammi Awuku

The Ghana Lotto Operators Association (GLOA) and the Concerned Lotto Agents Association of Ghana (CLAA) have expressed their dismay with aspects of the operations of the National Lottery Authority (NLA) in recent times.

According to the groups, issues relating to licensing, regulatory measures, digitalization mechanism and responsibility towards the Veteran Association among other things were being carried out inefficiently and with selfish interest rather than in the national interest that was leading to serious job losses and losses in the industry.

In a statement, they said “Currently, NLA, MD since Mr. Samuel Awuku took office, he has pretended that there is no such arrangement. He offered to publicize the operators who have fully paid and then call us to sign an agreement when he sent out his invitation for us to renew our license this year for a cost of two million cedis (GHc2, 000,000).

“The whole agreement form was not sent to us; the NLA merely gave us the page that needed to be signed. Some GLOA members were coerced into signing the contract by NLA, who assured them that any problems resulting from the agreement would be resolved afterwards. Other GLOA members declined to sign and requested information from the NLA in a letter.

“In order to prevent illegal practices and ensure that those of us who have paid for our licenses can work at our peak efficiency and pay our fair share to NLA and Ghana’s economy, NLA has failed to regularize lotto operations.

“We, the private lotto operators, proposed to NLA that it tax the writers by charging one hundred and twenty cedis (GHC 120) for each lottery kiosk, with an embossed sticker for each writer who pays. In the private lottery industry, there are over 2 million writers. Do you have any idea how much money NLA will make with our writers? Numerous petitions and letters urging NLA to implement this recommendation have been sent over the past five years, but to no avail. Even though we gave NLA the GPS coordinates for the lottery kiosk to help them with the procedure, nothing came of it.”

14th September, 2022

 

LOTTO OPERATORS AND AGENTS EXPRESS DISMAY ABOUT NLA

PRIVATIZATION AND DIGITIZATION, WHICH WOULD RESULT IN JOB LOSSES

 

The Ghana Lotto Operators  Association( GLOA) and the Concerned Lotto Agents Association of Ghana (CLAA) have expressed grave dismay with sections of the operations of the National Lottery Authority (NLA), since its new Director General Sammy Awuku took office.

We (GLOA and CLAA members) seek to redress the balance and provide clarification on the matters brought up. Issues relating to licensing, regulatory measures, digitalization mechanism and responsibility towards the Veteran Association among other things were being carried out inefficiently and with selfish interest rather than in the national interest that was leading to serious job losses and losses in the industry.

Currently, NLA, MD since Mr. Samuel Awuku took office, he has pretended that there is no such arrangement. He offered to publicize the operators who have fully paid and then call us to sign an agreement when he sent out his invitation for us to renew our license this year for a cost of two million cedis (GHc2, 000,000). The whole agreement form was not sent to us; the NLA merely gave us the page that needed to be signed. Some GLOA members were coerced into signing the contract by NLA, who assured them that any problems resulting from the agreement would be resolved afterwards. Other GLOA members declined to sign and requested information from the NLA in a letter.

In order to prevent illegal practices and ensure that those of us who have paid for our licenses can work at our peak efficiency and pay our fair share to NLA and Ghana’s economy, NLA has failed to regularize lotto operations.

We, the private lotto operators, proposed to NLA that it tax the writers by charging one hundred and twenty cedis (GHC 120) for each lottery kiosk, with an embossed sticker for each writer who pays. In the private lottery industry, there are over 2 million writers. Do you have any idea how much money NLA will make with our writers? Numerous petitions and letters urging NLA to implement this recommendation have been sent over the past five years, but to no avail. Even though we gave NLA the GPS coordinates for the lottery kiosk to help them with the procedure, nothing came of it.

We, private lottery operators, are not opposed to the growing trend of digitizing the lottery industry. However, outsourcing the 5/90 lottery to KEED Limited (KGL) will lead to the job loss of millions of Ghanaians. There are almost two million writers employed by private lotto companies who could lose their jobs. Additionally, thousands of workers and over 6,000 writers will be impacted.

Don’t forget the thousands of related parties that will lose their jobs, including drivers, checkpoint employees, printing industry employees, carpenters, etc. It is interesting to learn that NLA will ignore prospective job losses and their effects on the economy in order to further the vested interests of a chosen few.

Job losses will become intolerable due to the economy’s current status in a system without government aid (such as unemployment benefits, council housing, food stamps, and child care) (etc). The questions of “Who are the real owners of the KGL” and “What have they contributed to the Ghanaian economy and the lottery sector” still exist. Some government officials’ personal interests are more at stake here than the interests of hardworking Ghanaians or the nation’s economy as a whole.

The 15 registered private lotto firms have also been unfairly treated by NLA. In exchange for the NLA’s guarantee to control lotto operations, these corporations have paid millions of cedis over the last two years. The majority of these businesses have been in operation for more than twenty years and have contributed to both the economy and Ghana’s lotto industry. Why give autonomous power to a brand-new business that’s just been around for two years now? Private lotto companies were urged by NLA to invest in POS terminals, software for NLA integration, etc. We spent millions of cedis on the digital infrastructure we required to transform our business, yet NLA only now uses one vendor for its outsourcing needs.

The only thing this administration is doing to further the self-interest of a small set of people is ripping jobs away from millions of Ghanaians despite their promises to provide jobs. We are astonished by the director of NLA’s reaction to KGL’s digital operations’ activities and attempt to overstate their role without turning to the significant assistance provided by commercial lottery operators. It’s past time for NLA management to clarify its regulatory responsibilities rather than mingling with KGL digital operators.

The NLA should be open and honest with Ghanaians regarding the organizations that control KGL’s operations. Could it be that the NLA has given KGL its authority? If that’s the situation, then the general public needs to be made aware of it because NLA belongs to the Ghanaian people.

According to NLA, which claims to have 6,000 writers, it will require roughly three million cedis (GHc 3,000,000) to protect them during the digitizing process. The approximately two million writers used by private lotto operators may soon be insufficient. If memory serves, the Director General explained that KGL had promised the government an annual donation of 55 million cedis. Millions of Ghanaians will lose their jobs as a result, and the economy will suffer a blowback of over 3 million cedis. 15 commercial lottery businesses paid a total of 1.5 million dollars apiece to operate under Act.722, and an extra 500,000 dollars for Act.844. As a result, these private lottery operators annually contribute a minimum of 30 million cedis.

This money has actually been given to the NLA and is not a pledge. It is interesting to note that, in addition to the significant financial contribution made by commercial lottery operators, millions of Ghanaians would not lose their jobs as a result of outsourcing to KGL. Is it not preferable to let private lotto operators work, employ Ghanaians, and pay millions of cedis to the government rather than acting selfservingly by outsourcing to KGL and costing deserving Ghanaians their jobs?

There is also the expense related to monopolistic procedure settlements. The government would compensate its workers who are going to lose their jobs with millions of cedis.

For the purpose of operating under Act 844, the private lottery operators each contributed GH500, 000. Instead of the GHc 1,440,000 cedis NLA paid to the Veterans Association, VAG would have earned a total of seven million, five hundred thousand cedis (GHc 7,500,000) directly from private lottery operators in the absence of the contractual agreement they have with NLA. We’ve learned that NLA intends to monopolize the digitalization of VAG games and hand it over to a KGL affiliate. The VAG games, which won’t be 5/90 and are extremely unpopular in the lottery sector, are also being investigated by NLA. These games won’t bring in enough money.

Currently, private lotto operators generate more revenue for the National Lottery Authority, which enables them to fulfill their governmental obligations, such as those to the Finance Ministry and their corporate social responsibilities, among others.

 In conclusion,

The Ghana Lotto Operators Association (GLOA) and the Concerned Lotto Agents Association of Ghana (CLAA) are pleading with the National Lottery Authority (NLA) to stop giving KGL and its affiliates the exclusive right to run lotteries and to be open to receiving suggestions from us on how to enhance lotto operations and increase revenue for the country.

  1. In the new agreement, NLA reinstates the 10-year tenure license renewal. This will aid in our capital investment’s return. It should be mentioned that the lottery is a game of chance and that big wins can cause you to lose money the first year. This forces you to borrow money to keep your firm afloat. However, if you can’t continue to run it beyond the first year, how will you be able to repay your creditors?
  2. NLA should provide us with a copy of the revised license agreement so we can review it.
  3. NLA shall invite us to sign the contract and award us a license with a start date that begins on the day the contract is signed.
  4. We also demand that we be given permission to renew our business licenses on an annual basis. The renewal fee must be stated clearly, and the additional amount cannot exceed 10% of the original fee.
  5. The NLA should address illegal practices and enforce rules regarding commission payments to writers and prize payments to winners.
  6. NLA should desist from granting monopoly to KEED (KGL) and its subsidiaries and be open to a mechanism that includes private lotto operators in the digitization of lotto process.
  7. NLA should be open to implement some suggestions from private lotto operators on how to generate more revenue for the government.

SIGN:

GENERAL SECRETARY

GHANA LOTTO OPERATORS ASSOCIATION (GLOA)

SIGN:

CONCERNED LOTTO AGENTS ASSOCIATION OF GHANA (CLAA)

Further question and interview:  SETH ASANTE AMOANI

0246 390 520

Source: 3news.com|Ghana

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