Lotto Operators Protest
Private lotto operators in the country have taken their grudge against the National Lottery Authority (NLA) to the Presidency and accused the NLA of trying to render them jobless. Twenty-six national and regional executives of the National Lotto Receivers Union (NLRU) who signed an 11-point resolution on behalf of their 8,000 members gave a litany of allegations against the NLA and called for the removal of the Director-General of the Authority and his two Deputies. The 11-point resolution accused the NLA leadership of a deliberate attempt to make members of the union irrelevant and jobless by creating a distribution line which was parallel to what the private operators were doing. It said the management of the NLA had indicated that intention by "their indecent rush to recruit 10,000 more people and equip them with new portable mobile terminals to be used to conduct door-to-door sales of lotto tickets". Led by its National Chairman, Mr Dan Mensah, the NLRU called on the government to, as a matter of urgency, replace the Director General of the NLA and his two deputies, "else, we shall take steps to advise ourselves". The resolution, which was the outcome of a meeting held on January 12, 2011 was addressed to President J.E.A. Mills and copied to the Speaker of Parliament, the Chairman of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Finance, the Board Chairman of the NLA, the Director General of the NLA, the Chairman of the National Labour Commission (NLC) and some media houses. The union disagreed with measures being taken by the authority to "dilute" the income of lotto receivers by a proposal to reduce lotto commission from 25 to 20 or 15 per cent. It argued that comparing what pertained here to commission payable to lottery ticket sellers in Europe and elsewhere was wrong and misleading, since in those areas lottery tickets were sold in shops, at filling stations, in supermarkets and similar places where the operators had their core business and, therefore, lottery sales were on the peripheral point of their businesses. "In Ghana, lotto receivers sell lotto as their main occupation," it stressed. It also called for investigations into the importation of the 10,000 small portable mobile machines at a cost of €8 million. "It beats our imagination why samples of the small mobile machines were not imported for testing before making the bulk purchase," the union pointed out. It also challenged the management of the NLA to reduce its expenditure, instead of reducing lotto sales commission, and added that the government should take steps to dissolve the board of the NLA for it to be reconstituted to include former directors of the NLA who had better understanding of the lotto business. As part of its demands, the members of the union want to be recognised as individual retailers/operators and not to be forced to operate as marketing companies. They also indicated that all imported machines should first and foremost be allocated to existing lotto receivers before consideration was given to new entrants. The union said it represented 8,000 lotto receivers all over Ghana who constituted the core and bulk sales force of the NLA, adding that it had been pre-financing NLA operations by more than GH¢35,OOO per week. "We have over the years assisted the NLA to mobilise substantial amounts of revenue to support economic endeavours of successive governments .... We are expressing serious concern over the contemptuous style and attitude towards lotto receivers ever since the National Lotto Act of 2006 was passed," it stated.
Source: Daily Graphic