…regulate us so we can pay tax
…as they present a 15 Point Proposal to Government
The Ghana Lotto Operators Association (GLOA); an umbrella body of lotto operators in Ghana says it is ready to co-operate with the New Patriotic Party (NPP) government to realize its campaign promise of regularizing lotto operations in the country while ensuring effective private sector participation in the sector.
The group is disappointed that despite its numerous campaign promises ahead of the 2016 general elections to ensure that private lotto operations in the country is regularized and given a boost with an amendment to Section 2 (4) of the National Lotto Act (Act 722) of 2006, there seems to be a deliberate attempts by the current government through the National Lottery Authority (NLA) to take them for granted.
At a press conference in Accra on Tuesday to inform the public and lotto operators about details of the ongoing discussions between GLOA and the NLA following the Authority’s suggestions to the Operators to propose modalities towards the establishment of a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) on lotto, the general secretary of the Association, Mr Seth Amoani, noted that the continues existence of the clause in the law defeats the NPP’s campaign message of regularizing lottery and that until it is amended, the Association cannot be convinced that the government is committed to its words.
“The promulgation of the National Lotto Act, Act 722 (2006), created a monopoly for lottery in Ghana, which now defeats the NPP government’s agenda to expand the economy of Ghana. In 1989, PNDC Law 223 was promulgated to allow private sector participation in lottery, to support development activities of District Assemblies in Ghana. The Private sector has proved itself a viable partner in national revenue mobilization activities under several governments until Act 722 was promulgated in 2006, creating a lottery monopoly in Ghana,” Mr. Amoani stated.
He said PNDC Law 223 deregulated lottery in Ghana, occasioning massive improvement in the revenue and development activities of District Assemblies, leading to unprecedented national employment generation in all districts due to private sector participation in lotto.
“The result results from the opportunity created under PNDC Law 223 compelled the restructuring of the then dying Department of National Lotteries (DNL) to become more responsive in its revenue generation efforts to the state. Private sector participation in lottery in Ghana, therefore, is not a recent development,” he stated.
As a demonstration of its commitment to the realization if the NPP’s campaign promise to lotto operators, GLOA has presented a 15 point practical proposal to the government through the NLA for consideration with the believe that it the powers that be would see reason and come to their rescue.
Among the proposals, GLOA is proposing a meeting between the its members, the NLA, the Ministry of Finance and all other stakeholders for the discussion of the way forward in making private sector participation in lotto a reality under a PPP arrangement with commitments for parties.
They are also calling for the constitution of a legal review Committee to explored modalities for the amendment of Act 722 with particular reference to Section 2 (4). “A separation of the regulatory functions of the NLA from its commercial/operational functions, and to ensure that the NLA does not regulate and compete at the same time with other private sector operators”.
GLOA is insisting on the appointment of a truly independent regulator for lottery in Ghana, and the restricting of NLA’s lotto commercial operations under a different arrangement, for a transparent and impartial regulation with private sector operators; as well as a periodic monitoring of operators to ensure full compliance with the regulations and ensure that all districts are covered for uniformity and accelerated economic growth.
“Create modalities for the establishment of the Lotto Commission, the issuance of licenses to private operators nationwide, and the payment of appropriate registration fees, monthly GRA Taxes, VAT, P.A.Y.E, SSNIT and other charges to government.
“The regulation and control of fiscal activities of all operators, to ensure that taxes are fully paid and at periodic intervals to the state.
“Grant private sector operators a 5-year moratorium to recapitalize their operations by investing in equipment for independent draws on their own machines, or the payment of fees for use of drawn numbers in the interim,” the members stated.
Among others, they also want registration licenses issued after payment of annual registration fees and the provision of custom-made lotto tax stamps which shall be paid monthly; as well as a collaboration with the Ministry of Finance, the Lotto Commission and the RAGC for the conduct of a nationwide advocacy among its members for the building of the needed consensus and capacity. To streamline the operations of private sector lotto operators.
Response from the NLA
The Association announced at the conference that it has received some initial positive feedbacks from the Authority indicating that their concerns are being considered. To this effect GLOA has announced its intentions to “reorganize and restructure the operations of all of its members to ensure full compliance with requirements to be agreed under the PPP Agreement”.
The Association says it is also ready to partner the government for the realization of its district industrialization programme dubbed “One District, One Factory” policy; agriculture for food and jobs programme, and district economic development by providing the platform for revenue maximization, massive district employment creation, and the alternative livelihood empowerment towards sustaining the ban on galamsey and for overall district economic development.
GLOA’S Commitment to PPP
The Association says through it is in full support of the intentions of government to create a new opportunity under a PPP in lottery in Ghana to provide jobs in the districts and increase revenue into the consolidated fund, the current law, Act 722, does not averse to private sector participation in lotto.
“The issue is breaking the current monopoly and establishing an independent regulator, and not a regulator/sole operator as is the case presently at the National Lottery Authority (NLA). The position is therefore otiose and untenable for NLA to be a regulator, sole operator of lotto and government advisor on lottery activities in Ghana.”
Lotto as Jobs for Galamsey ‘boys’
According to the members of the Ghana Lotto Operators Association, the surge in galamsey activities in the country is as a result of the promulgation of Act 722 as it too several people out of jobs, especially at the district level.
“So why would the NPP successfully suppress galamsey operations, without opening up opportunities in the districts for the private sector operators to absorb the large numbers returning from galamsey operations?
“The new direction towards public-private partnership, is the best solution to creating a low-cost, long –term, alternative livelihoods programme for ex-galamsey operatives for massive employment drive at the district level, and for revenue maximization for local economic development. A possible rural-urban migration resulting from the ban on galamsey, can best be prevented when private sector lotto operators are licensed to recruit them as agents to earn decent incomes, without becoming a social menace to the country.”
Source: Jeorge Wilson Kingson || ghananewsonline.com.gh