The Ghana Lotto Operators Association (GLOA) has called on the government to, as a matter of necessity, review its economic policies with the private sector by amending the National Lotto Act (Act 722), 2006, to enable private sector operators in the lotto industry for economic growth of the country.
According to the lotto association, the breaking of NLA monopoly will undoubtedly help increase revenues, create jobs for the teeming youth and maintain public-private sector physical balance and fair competition in the lotto industry.
Mr. Seth Asante Amoani, the Secretary of GLOA, made the call at a press conference held in Accra yesterday.
He said, the current position of NLA as a regulator and sole operator of the lotto business does not promote competition and the authority has used its regulatory powers to suppress the private operators over the years through Act 722(2006).
The GLOA, he noted, was deeply affronted by the subtle and deliberate attempt by the National Lottery Authority (NLA), to permanently crush the operations of GLOA, whose businesses have contributed tremendously to the development of the country.
“The issue is breaking the current monopoly and establishing an independent regulator, and not a regulator/ sole operator as is the case presently of National Lottery Authority. This position is therefore obtuse and untenable, for NLA to be a regulator, sole operator of lotto and government advisor on lottery activities in Ghana,” he contended.
“This provision under section 2(4) of Act 722(2006), was crafted envisaging as a fair inclusion of private sector operators and other multimedia partners, bringing in the desired innovation into the government objective to provide long-terms jobs, and build our cash-strapped district into self-sustaining economies for industrial development,” Mr. Amoani further stated.
GLOA, he said, has the capacity to absorb the teeming unemployed youth, especially those being displaced from ‘Galamsey’ in other parts of the country, pointing out that their business could generate revenue to the government which would be used for development projects.
He further expressed confidence that, should the monopoly of NLA be broken for the private sector to participate, more jobs would be created, citing the transportation, banking, education, health and other economic sectors, where private sector, being the engine of growth, has helped improve and transform the economy.
Mr. Amoani said this has undoubtedly defeated the long-held misleading argument put forward by the NLA, posited on monopoly and revenue generation.
The Secretary of GLOA observed that the development of this country would be accelerated through a carefully structured government support for private businesses to widen the economic base of the nation, and tasked government to tear down the monopoly created by Act 722 to restore private sector participation in lottery in the country.
He averred that, the business case for a monopoly under the National Lottery Authority (NLA) has still not been justified and the difficult and much debated question of whether or not the NLA has fulfilled its revenue maximization mandates remains unanswered.
Mr. Amoani further questioned why the lottery sector had become a no-go area for private operators and lamented over the continued harassment of some of its members by security agencies, describing such moves as inimical to the economic growth of the country.
He pointed out that “the deliberate criminalisation of the lawful activities of lotto operators from the period after Act 722(2006), has undermined employment generation and revenue maximisation at the districts, and lost government’s votes at the districts. We also know what happened when governments ignored GLOA warning on the same issues in 2012 and 2016.”
The GLOA Secretary added that, the success of any business partnership depends largely on the feasibility studies carried out to ascertain ability, profitability and sustainability of that business, stating, the association is ready to enter into Public Private Partnership (PPP) to support the government find jobs for those affected by the ban on “galamsey.”
“GLOA has an existing network of people already trained and knowledgeable in writing lotto with the private sector operators, estimated around 2million in all the districts of the country. This is key to the success of this PPP in lotto. A registration of these lotto writers for tax purposes and reorientation of its existing manpower in the private sector will ensure the smooth take-off short in lotto,” Mr. Amoani stated.
While pleading with the Ministry of Finance to see to the proper regulation of the lottery industry with a discussion with the private sector operations in view of finding solutions to revenue maximization efforts, Mr. Amoani said GLOA has proposed a 15- working point system which, in their view, would help transform the lotto business and bring revenue to the government purse.
In the considered opinion of GLOA, a legal review committee must be constituted to explore modalities for the amendment of Act 722(2006), with particular reference to Section 2(4), separation of the regulatory function of NLA from its commercial or operational functions, establish a Lotto Commission to handle issuance of license to private operators, registration fees, monthly GRA taxes, among others.
The GLOA, Mr Amoani maintained, is therefore open to any discussion with NLA on PPP as it remained committed to partner the government to realize its district industrialization programme, the agriculture food production and jobs programme, as well as economic development by providing the platform for revenue maximization.
Mr. Ato Conduah, a consultant to GLOA, noted that there was clear distinction between Act 722 and Act 844, for under the Act 844 (2012), the law gives room for private sector participation and wondered why NLA does not want to comply with the provision of the law.
He therefore urged NLA and government to focus on economic growth through revenue mobilization and job creation by relying on Section 22 (1) and (2) of Act 844 (2012) and support the GLOA and VAG to create jobs through collaboration with the private sector.
The Executive Secretary of the “Concerned Lotto Agents Association of Ghana (CLAAG),” Mr. Kwaku Duah-Tawiah, on his part, said the over 200,000 lotto agents in the country could contribute huge sums of revenue to the consolidated fund.
He said the agents could contribute more revenue if they were properly regulated and provided with Point of Sale Terminals to work with.
Mr. Duah stated that members of CLAAG were not nation-wreckers and were willing to work with the NLA, particularly on the authority’s agenda to make its presence visible and accessible in every part of the country.
Source: therepublicnewsonline.com/ Felix Engsalige Nyaaba