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27.07.2005 Business & Finance

VAT Service to phase out 500 cedis lotto coupons


Accra, July 27, GNA - The 500 cedis denomination of lotto coupons printed by Valued Added Tax (VAT) Service for private lotto operators would be phased out with effect from October 1, Mr George Blankson, Deputy Commissioner in charge of Operations, VAT Service, said on Wednesday.

Speaking to 12 private lotto operators at a meeting in Accra, Mr Blankson said this was to make way for the printing and circulation of higher denominations of coupons, mainly 10,000 cedis and 20,000 cedis. Mr Blankson said the VAT Service was giving all lotto operators a breather to sell all 500 cedis denomination coupons for two months to enable the Service and the Controller and Accountant General to print the new denomination of the coupons.

He asked the private lotto operators at the meeting to do well to exhaust the 500 cedis coupons saying operators would be given the higher denomination coupons only when they exhausted the 500 cedis denominations.

VAT initially printed out 500, 1,000, 2,000 and 5,000 cedis coupons but this created some difficulties for some lotto writers and stakers, who staked large sums.

Mr Blankson said in line with the phasing out of the 500 cedis coupons, the VAT Service would suspend its operation on the monitoring of the face value of coupons staked during the period. He said the VAT Service had reports that some lotto operators were not writing the face value on coupons and urged members to comply with the directive.

Mr Blankson said with the introduction of the new denominations, VAT would employ temporary staff that would crosscheck the actual face value of the coupons and the VAT that was paid. He said the Service would educate stakeholders in the lottery business on the new directives.

During discussions, the private lotto operators welcomed the decision but expressed worry about their stock of the 500 cedis coupons. They noted that there were a number of cases pending before the courts in connection with the face value of lotto coupons and pleaded with the VAT Service to withdraw them.

They condemned piracy and use of plain papers by some operators saying the action was not only draining their businesses but also reducing taxes to be paid to the Government.

They suggested that the names of registered lotto operators in good standing should be published in the media.

According to the private lotto operators, there were moreare over 20 lotto results in the media but expressed regret that some of the companies did not have offices or machines.

They therefore appealed to the relevant agencies to scrutinise various licences issued to people who wish to operate lottery in the country.

In attendance were directors and representatives of Lotto Gold, Rambell, Multi Lotto, Asare Original Pay All, VAG West, Golden Souvenir, Last Chance, Obiri and Sons and Lotto Bingo.