06.07.2006 Business & Finance

Lotto operators oppose amendment to PNDC law

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The Ghana Lotto Operators Association has appealed to Parliament to oppose the amendment of the PNDC Law 223, which they contended was inimical to private initiative.

They said the abolition of private lottery would create a monopoly for the Department of National Lotteries (DNL) and throw thousands out of employment, which would compound the already worsening unemployment problem.

Mr Ato Conduah, a Consultant to the Association, speaking at a press conference in Accra, said the deregulation of the lotto industry had provided funds for developing the districts as well as provided long term jobs to Ghanaians.

He debunked the assertion that private lotto operators did not pay taxes and said between 2005 and 2006 the association contributed about 20 billion cedis to the national revenue.

He cited the Veterans Association of Ghana (VAG) as having received five billion cedis between 1998 and 2005 by way of levy from the VAG Special Raffle as against Government subversion of one billion cedis.

He said district assemblies had also earned revenue from the lotto operators citing the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) as collecting a minimum of 6 million cedis from every private lotto company within the city.

Mr Conduah also revealed the uneven playing field in the lotto industry where DNL was serviced by workers seconded from government departments and institutions, who were paid by their mother organisations and thus incurred no expenditure on the payment of salaries.

"It is our contention that if the DNL is made to pay VAT and the other taxes and to finance its operations as the private lottery companies do, its performance by way of revenue to the consolidated fund would be negligible and unimpressive" he said.

He said DNL to date had not reached the hinterland, and people who patronized lottery would have no option but to resort to "Banker-to-Banker" operations leading to non-payment of taxes, which would be detrimental to the fortunes of the nation.

Mr Seth Amoani, Secretary of the Association, called on the Government to set up a regulatory authority that would enforce its rules and regulations to clear the "lawlessness" that had characterized the industry rather than banning the private operators.

He also called for the reactivation of the office of the Games Commissioner to set up the Gaming Board to monitor, control and regulate lotteries in the country.

He said private lottery companies should be given the opportunity to print their own books to enable them to operate efficiently and effectively.

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