The attention of the Management of the National Lottery Authority (NLA) has been drawn to a publication by 3news.com with the above-mentioned caption. The story also alleges some impropriety with the licensing of Private Lotto Operators (PLOs) by NLA.
Management of NLA would like to express its disappointment that a media house of your caliber would publish such a misleading story without giving NLA a right of response as the ethics of journalism requires.
We would therefore like to set the records straight in this rejoinder and expect that you give it the same prominence as you did with the initial story as the ethics of journalism stipulates.
Management would like to state that NLA is exploring the possibility of digitalizing our VAG Game to increase revenue and keep honouring our contractual agreement with the Veterans Administration of Ghana (VAG).
In addition, Management has started deliberations together with the Board on building a game for VAG without it being a 5/90 so we can independently grow both games and increase revenue for us to honour our obligations with the Veterans Administration Ghana or the Military.
The NLA currently pays VAG a sum of One hundred and twenty thousand Ghana Cedis GHS 120, 000 every month. This is in addition to other auxiliary costs including medical, maintenance and travel fees paid annually. In March 2022, the Board and Management presented a cross-country vehicle and a cheque of Five hundred thousand Ghana cedis GHS 500,000.00 to VAG, all in fulfillment of the Authority’s obligations to VAG.
In spite of these, the VAG Game is not fetching the Authority enough money currently. We, therefore, believe going digital with the VAG Game as has been done with the Original 5/90 Game on the Point of Sale Terminal (POST) and Online, can rake in enough revenue to support our Veterans, support government and our Good Causes.
The Government has been heavily driving the digital agenda, hence many of the services rendered by State Institutions have gone digital. NLA is one of the few state intuitions yet to go digital.
Conservatively, NLA operated its games manually on paper and eventually automated its operations on Point of Sale Terminals. The dynamics of the times have therefore propelled us into the digital space. Currently, the Original 5/90 Game is operated both digitally and on the Point of Sale Machine. Upon his appointment to NLA, the Director-General, Mr. Samuel Awuku together with the Board of NLA renegotiated the contract renewal with our online Partner, KGL from Twenty five million Ghana cedis GHS 25,000,000.00 to Fifty-five million Ghana cedis GHS 55,000,000.00 to rake in more revenue for the Authority.
They also secured Two million Ghana Cedis GHS 2,000,000.00 for the Good Causes Foundation and an additional Three million Ghana Cedis GHS 3,000,000.00 as a Stabilization Fund to cushion our Lotto Marketing Companies (LMCs) and retailers, as we explore the gradual migration of going digital in our operations. Several engagements have also been held with the LMCs on this matter and they have been categorically assured that the NLA would not take any drastic measures without informing them.
It is therefore disingenuous on your part to create a perception that over two million people will be put out of their jobs when the Authority has been constantly engaging the leadership of the LMCs and the LMCs themselves. In any case is to curious to ask where the data of 2 million people are, and based on what available data?
PRIVATE LOTTO OPERATORS (PLOs)
The Board and Management of NLA in June licensed Private Lotto Operators. (PLOs) The Agreement, is valid for one year, from 1st January 2022 to 31st December 2022, and not from May to December as your article stipulated.
PLOs operating the 5/90 Game under the National Lotto Act 2006 (Act 722) are required to pay an amount of One million, five hundred thousand Ghana cedis GHS 1,500,000.00 while those operating under the Veterans Administration (VAG) Act 2012 (Act 844) would pay an amount of Five hundred thousand Ghana cedis GHS 500,000.00. Those who wish to operate both will pay an amount of Two million Ghana cedis GHS 2,000,000.00. These steps were taken to sanitize the lotto industry and rake in more revenue for the government as hitherto these PLOs paid no taxes to the government.
NLA in conjunction with the security services has since last year been conducting swoops nationwide to enforce the provisions in Act 722 and Act 844. The task force confiscated equipment and items and handed several people to the police. Thus, persons caught manufacturing, distributing, selling, or retailing lotto products and services without authorization from the National Lottery Authority have been found culpable under Act 722 and L.I. 1948 and sanctioned. These incidents have also been widely reported in the media thus the impression created by your article that NLA is not enforcing the rules is absolutely false.
The current Board and Management of NLA led by the Director-General, Mr. Samuel Awuku is focused on achieving its core mandate of raising revenue for national development and to continue delivering quality service to its valued patrons.
NLA generates revenue to support the government’s developmental agenda and the Consolidated Fund. In February 2022, NLA donated an amount of Ten Million GHS 10,000.000 to the Ministry of Finance in support of the YouStart Program.
NLA through the Good Causes Foundation has touched the lives of several communities, individuals and institutions nationwide in the areas of Education, Health, Youth and Sports Development and Arts and Culture, the pillars under which the Foundation operates. These are evident for all to see as they have been widely reported in the media.
We would want to place on record that today, NLA is one of the most vibrant state institutions that is contributing its quota to the development of the nation’s infrastructure and is committed to raising revenue for the state.
NLA is aware of the various steps taken by its detractors to tarnish its reputation and that of its members for personal and parochial gains. We believe that those persons involved are in league with some staff of NLA, as happens in most institutions, to look for supposed non-existent information that may tarnish the hard won reputation of the Board, Management and Staff of NLA.
We would like to assure the general public and our valued patrons that there is no such impropriety, as Management operates an open door policy that does not entertain any inappropriate behavior.
As an Authority, our paramount interest lies in maximizing revenue for government; that has always been our avowed aim and is the sole agenda at the heart of all our operations.
We believe that, all well-meaning Ghanaians, and especially our valued patrons as well as our sector Ministry, are living witnesses to the achievements of NLA in recent times under the leadership of our current Director-General, Mr. Samuel Awuku and Management is poised to achieve even greater heights. We therefore urge the general public to ignore any unfounded speculations.