NLA Outlines Programmes For 60th Anniversary
The authority, which is counting its successes, said it has made tremendous strides, made patrons millionaires and helped provide massive support for the national economy, despite the challenges over the years.
The celebration, which starts this October, will run till December, when a grand durbar will be held in Accra.
The NLA, in the same December, will concurrently serve as host to the first-ever Gaming Conference to be held in Accra from the 7th to the 10th.
At the launch of the anniversary last Thursday, September 29, the Director-General (DG) of the NLA, Mr. Samuel Awuku, said, “it has been 60 years of generating revenue for national development, 60 years of touching lives, communities and institutions and 60 years of making our patrons millionaires.”
The D-G, whose administration is enjoying enormous goodwill, said, “We have dedicated the month of October to our cherished customers whom we recognize as our most valued assets, the month of November is slated for our ‘good causes.’ In this month, we will give back to society by commissioning some projects we have been able to embark upon in the various parts of the country.”
He noted that, “This will be climaxed with a grand durbar of the anniversary which will be celebrated in December and this I am happy to inform you that thanks to the Ivoirians and our partners within the African Lotteries Association, we have been gifted with the opportunity to host the first-ever conference on responsible gaming in Ghana.
He said, “As we host the African Lotteries Association, this will bring to the fore and expose Ghana, as well, to several delegations from various African countries where lotteries also take place. This celebration and responsible gaming conference will be held concurrently between the 7th and 10th of December.”
Outlining the programme of activities for the anniversary celebration, Mr. Awuku, who took office a year ago, paid glowing tribute to his predecessors and all who he said “helped shape the Authority” to what it is today.
He explained, “From the very first draw held by the department which had five thousand pounds as the prize money, through the years of operating manually, transitioning from the department into an authority, with its attendant evolutions into an automated system forty-four years later, the NLA can confidently boast of exemplifying its mandate to make all its stakeholders’ ultimate winners.”
He added, “While NLA has had its fair share of challenges, in this 60 years’ journey, as my former D-Gs will also agree with me, the reforms, policies and decisions taken by successive boards and Director Generals, have helped shape this premier organization to what it is today.
“So, to all the boards and Director Generals, directors, management and staff of this great institution, both past and present, who have worked tirelessly to keep NLA afloat, and to our ever-dedicated staff, we once again thank you and good job to you,” he said.
Mr. Awuku, in his brief message, also touched on the history of the NLA, noting, in particular, the roles and contributions of Ghana’s first President and Finance Minister.
The D-G narrated that the then finance minister, Komla Agbeli Gbedemah, travelled abroad, specifically to the Southern European country of Malta, and, upon learning of the lotto business, came back to the then prime minister, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, suggesting to him the establishment of the Authority in 1962.
“As the story goes, Mr. Gbedemah informed the then Prime Minister, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, on his return, who in turn sent an envoy to Malta to understudy this thing they call lottery, and requested the Maltese government to help Ghana set up its own lottery body.
“In granting that request, the Maltese government seconded Mr. William Francis Brennan, an Officer of the Malta Public Lotteries Department, to assist Ghana set up the Department of National Lotteries (DNL). Mr. Brennan from Malta was thus the department’s first Director-General,” he said.
In a goodwill message, the and Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Godfred Yeboah Dame, applauded the NLA on its 60 years’ anniversary and the stability it has enjoyed the past six decades.
He reminded that at 60, the NLA will be retiring if it was human and so urged it to take time to reflect.
Mr. Dame said the authority over the period has gone through several changes and transformation while serving as a key contributor to the national economy, adding that the positives of gaming, far outweigh the negatives, hence the need to sustain it.
The AG added that the fairness exhibited in the game of lottery is what has guided sustained it, and urged that, while ensuring that such a good attribute continues, the authority must also use technology to the fullest.
A Deputy Minister for Finance, Dr. John Kumah, lauded the contribution of the NLA to the national purse, saying he was excited about its new drive. He however urged management to take steps to seal all revenue leakages and watch how revenue is handled.
The launch last Friday at the forecourt of the authority in Accra attracted several dignitaries, including the D-G of Ivory Coast LONACI, Dramane Coulibally, who is also the President of the Africa Lottery Association.
Others were the Board Chairman of NLA and Member of Council of State, Tobge Francis Nyonyo Agboada, and the Maltese High Commissioner – Jean Claude Galea Mallia,
Togbe Francis Nyonyo Agboada said the NLA is looking at options available to them, as most of its collaborators have reneged on their revenue obligations.
“Let’s say that apart from KGL, most of our collaborators have not been able to fulfill their revenue obligations to NLA and the board and management is critically evaluating the options open to NLA on the way forward,” he said.
The Minister of Defence, Dominic Nitiwul, said the Veteran Administration of Ghana (VAG) has benefited so much from proceeds from the NLA-VAG lottery game.
He said the ministry will continue to explore more avenues of partnership with the NLA, to better the lives of officers.
The launch was climaxed with the unveiling of the 60th anniversary logo and cloth, and the cutting of cake. A documentary detailing some of the projects initiated under NLA’s ‘Good Causes’ programme was also shown.
‘Good Causes,’ which is NLA’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programme, was started last year with a seed capital of $60, 000 from the sister institution LONACI of Ivory Coast.
Some of the projects included refurbishment of schools, hospital wards, donation of incubators, laboratory facilities, health screening, ICT laboratory centres, etc.
Also present was artiste Edem, who performed the theme song for the anniversary, titled “Enriching lives through games.”