Director-General of National Lottery Authority (NLA), appears highly poised to give the institution a new focus, a new direction and a new image.
Sammi Awuku, believes that an NLA with a positive outlook can serve its clients better and profitably, while raising revenue into state coffers to meet the developmental needs of the country.
The NLA boss, in an informal interaction with The Herald on the sidelines of a media engagement last Saturday, November 20, in Accra, observed that NLA remains the only institution through which Ghanaians are ready and willing to contribute towards national development through lottery, and not through the payment of tax.
The next few months will, therefore, see a rebranded NLA, the use of celebrities in its programmes and draws, all in an effort to give the institution named “Fortune House” a new lease of life.
In this regard, the management of the NLA, has disclosed that it would no longer broadcast its live draws on national television, saying a different broadcasting network will be used. This change will take effect from December 1, revealing that the initiative is one of several changes designed to be made to the broadcast of the draw.
This follows the failure of the GBC management to respond to a letter sent by the NLA since September 1, although NLA pays significant revenue to GBC for the privilege to broadcast on its network, and wanted some modifications which will make the authority derived value for the money.
In the meantime, Mr Awuku, has embarked on regular engagement with NLA workers towards knowing their problems and challenges in a move to have them onboard the new NLA. This has seen adjustment in salaries which had delayed for several years and had affected morale and commitment of the workers.
At the end of this year, the workers are also expected to get their bonuses, as well as their 13th month salary this Christmas.
The NLA boss, believes that such incentives, aside motivating the staff to give out their best, will also help identify and collectively block the loopholes in the system to prevent losses and enable the institution to increase patronage and maximize profit for both staff and the state for national development.
Already, an illegal lottery popularly called, “Banker to Banker” has witnessed a massive clampdown on their activities with over 19 persons arrested for relying on NLA draw numbers to do their business without records and payment of taxes to the state.
But ahead of the clampdown by the NLA Taskforce made up of soldiers and police officers, the Authority, had announced that all private companies registered to do business with it, renewed their license.
At the end of the exercise, some 140 companies popped up, but over 20 companies, have made the requisite payments for the license to still remain in business with the NLA. This was after 70 of the companies were disqualified.
Other arrangements with partners, including KGL, will also be reviewed to become more rewarding to the NLA.
Next year, the NLA, hopes to make some whooping GHc45 million from the KGL arrangement which started from GHC20 million, but currently ploughs GHC25 million into the NLA coffers.
Mr Awuku, has also visited some neighbouring countries, including Cote d’Ivoire and Nigeria, to familiarize himself with their booming lottery industries with the hope of replicating the same here in Ghana.
The tour, has already yielded some benefits for the NLA, with the Ivorian authorities through their lotto regulatory body LONACI, donation thirty million CFA, the equivalent of US$60,000 to the NLA, through the LONACI Foundation, the Corporate Social Responsibility wing of the Ivorian Lotto.
A UK company which helped LONACI to reorganize is lottery business, is expected in Ghana soon to weigh the options of working with the NLA.
In the case of Nigeria, where customers of some of the lotto companies rely on draws from Ghana’s NLA to do business, Mr Awuku, revealed plans are far advanced to build upon the existing relationship to rake in a good fortune.
Mr Awuku, appreciates the political dynamics at play at NLA, however, he believes there is a meeting of minds, as he as a member of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) wants for the authority and for that the country versus what the supporters of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC); which is a collective good of the country and he is ready to harness every potential to realize that objective until his last day at NLA.
In the coming days, the entire studio set would be replaced to reflect the modern digital way with appropriate lighting, background and setting.
Mr Awuku, said that all resources have been made available to the team in charge to ensure that the significant changes which, include the acquisition of five new and modern draw equipment to replace existing ones which were acquired in the 1970s, for the live draws.
The process of inserting the balls into the machine manually, will also change.
The presenter is also set to be Ghanaian-born actress Jessica Williams, who has carved an image for herself as a vibrant presenter.