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The Danger Of Job Losses The Role Of NLA Digitalization And Privatization Against Private Lotto Operators And Writers

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The Ghana Lotto Operators Association (GLOA) and the Concerned Lotto Agents Association of Ghana (CLAA) have a reaction to a press release by the National Lottery Authority (NLA) on issues regarding lottery operations in the country.

We (GLOA and CLAA) are therefore here to clarify issues raised and set the record straight.

LICENCE

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We started negotiations with the National Lottery Authority (NLA) under the leadership of Mr. Ameyaw in 2020 to register us for licence to operate lottery. Every operator paid one million cedis (GHc 1,000,000) and per NLA’s request had to procure POS terminal machines, software, servers, draw machines etc. These proposed changes by NLA were capital in nature and cost us greatly. We were given a ten-year agreement for renewal of licence to help us recoup our investment but when the current NLA, MD Mr. Samuel Awuku assumed office he has pretended that there is no agreement of this sort.

Mr. Awuku invited us this year to renew our licence at a fee of two million cedis (GHc 2,000,000) with the promise to announce the operators who have fully paid and then call us to sign an agreement.

However, NLA only presented us with a page for our signature and the entirety of the agreement document was not given to us. Some members of GLOA signed the document under duress with the promise from NLA that any issues that arise out of the agreement will be addressed later. Other members of GLOA refused to sign and have written to the NLA to furnish them with details of the new agreement but to no avail. Thus, as we speak some members of GLOA have paid their licence fee but are yet to receive it.

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NLA AS A REGULATOR

NLA has failed to regularize lotto operations to reduce unlawful practices and ensure that those of us who have paid for our license can operate at our optimum level and in turn contribute our quota to NLA and Ghana’s economy.

We the private lotto operators suggested to NLA to tax the writers by charging one hundred and twenty cedis (GHe 120) per lotto kiosk and all writers who pay will have a sticker embossed on their kiosk. There are over 2million writers in the private lotto sector. Can you imagine the revenue that NLA will generate through our writers? In the last five years, several petitions and letters have been written to NLA to enforce this suggestion but to no avail.

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We even provided NLA with the GPS location for the lotto kiosk to aid them in the process but nothing came out of it.

LOSS OF JOBS

We, private lotto operators are not opposed to digitization of lottery operation as it’s a growing trend. But to outsource 5/90 lottery to ONE company Keed Limited (KGL)will result in millions of Ghanaians losing their jobs.

Private lotto operators have a total of over two million writers who stand to lose their jobs. The LA also has over six thousand writers and thousands of employees who will be affected as well. Let’s not forget the thousands of associated parties such as drivers, check point workers, printing company’s workers, carpenters, etc. who will be out of jobs.

It is interesting to know that NLA will overlook the potential job loss and its impact on the economy, just to satisfy the selfish interest of a selected few.

The current state of the economy will make job losses extreme unbearable in a system with no government welfare (such as unemployment benefits, council flat, food stamp, child care etc).

WHY MONOPLISE DIGITALIZATION OF LOTTO AND WHY KGL?

The question remains “Who are the real owners of the KGL” “what has been their contribution to the lotto industry and the Ghanaian economy”? This is more of a personal interest by some government officials to the detriment of hardworking Ghanaians and the economy at large.

There is also the unjust treatment of the 15 registered private lotto companies by NLA. These companies paid millions of cedis for the past two years with the promise by NLA to regulate lotto operations. Most of these companies have been operating for over twenty years and have made their contribution not only to the Ghanian lotto industry but the economy as well. Why now grant autonomous power to a new company that is barely two years old?

NLA asked private lotto companies to invest in POS terminal, software for integration by NLA etc. These infrastructures needed to make our operations digital cost us millions of cedis only for NLA to now outsource solely to one company.

This government promise to provide job, but all they are doing is taking jobs from millions of Ghanaians to satisfy the selfish interest of a small group of people.

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We are so surprised at director of NLA’s response to the activity of KGL digital operations and trying to overemphasize their contribution without recourse to the massive support from private lotto operators. It’s high time NLA management defines their role as a regulator rather than fraternizing with KGL digital operators. The NLA should be transparent with Ghanaians about which powers are behind KGL’s operations, can it be that the NLA has relinquished its powers to KGL? The public must be made aware if that’s the issue at hand since NLA belongs to the people of Ghana.

COST OF DIGITAZATION

NLA claims to have about six thousand writers and it agrees that it will need about three million cedis (GHc 3,000,000) to cushion them during the digitization process. Private lotto operators have over two million writers and will need more.

If we recall rightly the Director General explanations that KGL has pledged 55 million cedis annually to the government. This comes at a cost of loss of jobs to millions of Ghanaians, over 3 million cedis in settlements and blow back on the already fragile economy.

There are 15 private lotto companies who paid 1.5 million each to operate under Act.722 and additional 500,000 each for Act. 844. Thus, the total contribution by these private lotto

operators is nothing less than 30 million cedis yearly. This money is not a pledge and have actually been paid to the NLA. It is interesting to note that besides the massive monetary

contribution by private lotto operators, there will be no loss of jobs to millions of Ghanaians that would definitely happen with outsourcing to KGL.

Is it not better to let private lotto operators work and provide jobs to Ghanaians and also pay millions of cedis to the government than selfishly outsource to KGL and cause loss of jobs to noble Ghanaians?

There is also the cost involved in settlements under the monopoly process. The government will pay millions of cedis to its employees who are about to lose their livelihood.

NLA’S RESPONSIBILITY TO THE VETERANS (VAG)

The private lotto operators contributed five hundred thousand cedis (GHc 500,000) each for operation under Act 844. lin the absence of the contractual agreement VAG has with NLA, they would have received a total of seven million, five hundred thousand cedis (GHc 7,500,000) directly from private lotto operators this year compared to the GHc 1,440,000 cedis NLA paid to the Veterans Association.

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It has come to our attention that NLA wants to digitalize VAG games and grant monopoly of this to a subsidiary company of KGL. NLA is also exploring VAG games which will not be 5/90 and such games are highly unpopular in the lotto industry and will not generate enough revenue.

Currently, the private lotto operators rank in more money for the National Lottery Authority, and this is why they are able to meet their obligations to the state including Finance Ministry as well as their corporate social responsibilities etc.

CONCLUSION

The Ghana Lotto Operators Association (GLOA) and the Concerned Lotto Agents Association Of Ghana (CLAA) would like to urge the National Lottery Authority (NLA) to desist from giving KGL and its subsidiaries monopoly to operate lotto and be open for us to make suggestions on how to improve lotto operations and generate more revenue for the nation.

We therefore demand the following;

  1. NLA reinstate the 10-year tenure licence renewal in the new agreement. This is to help us recoup our capital investment. It should be noted that lottery is a game of chance and you can make a loss in the first year through massive wins. This prompts you to borrow to keep business afloat, how are you going to payback your debtors if you cannot operate after the first year?
  2. NLA should furnish us with the new licence agreement for our perusal.
  3. NLA should invite us to sign the agreement and issue us with a licence with a commencement date starting from the day of signing of the agreement.
  4. We also insist that every year we are allowed to renewal the licences for our operations.
    The fee for the renewal must be made clear and the incremental amount should not be more than 10 percent of the initial fee.
  5. NLA should address unlawful practices and enforce policies on commission to be paid to the writers and the prizes to be paid to the 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)

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