From William N-lanjerborr Jalulah
LIKE THEIR counterparts in Accra and Kumasi, retailers of the National Lottery Authority (NLA) in the Upper East Region can now also operate their transactions with greater efficiency, through the introduction of the automation system in the region.
The NLA is a key government revenue generation entity established by an act of parliament (Act 722) in 2006.
It metamorphosed from the Department of National Lotteries (DNL), the then institution mandated by National Lotto Act 1958 to operate lottery business on behalf of the Government of Ghana until 2007.
Speaking to journalists in Bolgatanga on Sunday, after he had met with 35 active and 33 inactive retailers to introduce the automation system to them, the Marketing Director of the NLA, Mr. George Gyamfi-Osew, said the system was introduced in Accra three years ago.
According to him, the automation was simpler and faster, and provides data efficiencies, helps the player and the retailer, because within 10 minutes after the draw, the winners are known.
Mr. Gyamfi-Osew explained that instead of the operators carrying loads of books or the manual coupons, they could now load on the automated machine, insert, and begin to operate.
He was hopeful that with fewer buttons on the machine, which looks like a fax machine, two days of training for the retailers would be enough for them to be able to operate it easily. The training he said was free.
The Marketing Director further explained that the machine works on General Packet Radio Service (GPRS) with a chip inside it, and once the operator finishes the transaction and confirms, it goes via the GPRS network onto the NLA server at the head office. It has a rechargeable battery.
He admitted that fraudsters were venturing into outwitting the authority, and almost every week people are arrested in connection with fraudulent activities, and was quick to add that the authority had put measures in place to protect the server from such fraudulent activities.
Mr. Gyamfi-Osew said the cost of one machine was about 1,000 Euros, but it would be given to the retailers for free.
He revealed that the operations of the NLA in Accra are about 85% automated, while Kumasi is about 15%.
This is because there was good patronage in these two major cities.
Flanked by the Regional Manager of the NLA, Mr. Joseph Dassah, Mr. Gyamfi-Osew said though the lottery business was good for the low and middle income earners to catch up with those in the high income bracket, the latter group was now going for the game to earn much more for themselves.