Debates of 9 Nov 2006

PRAYERS 10 a.m.




Mr. Speaker 10 a.m.
Order! Order! Correction of Votes and Proceedings, Wednesday, 8th November, 2006. Page
1 . . . 9.
Mr. Kofi Krah Mensah 10 a.m.
Speaker, page 9, item 14, the motion was seconded by hon. Osei-Mensah and not by me. So there should be a change there.
Mr. Speaker 10 a.m.
Page 10 . . . 16 -- [Inter-
Mr. Yieleh Chireh 10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker,
page 16, the items under “In Attendance” on that page, second line -- Mr. Speaker. Estelle Appiah is the Director of Legislative Drafting and not the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning.
Mr. Speaker 10 a.m.
Hon. Member, are you
referring to page 16?
Mr. Chireh 10 a.m.
Yes, Mr. Speaker, it is
the Committee on Subsidiary Legislation, “In Attendance”, the second name.
Mr. Speaker 10 a.m.
Thank you. Page 17. .
. 18. Hon. Members, we do not have the Official Report for yesterday.



HOUSING 10 a.m.

Ms. Cecilia Dapaah (on behalf of Minister for Water Resources, Works and Housing) 10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the twin towns of Zabzugu/Tatale are served by a surface water supply system rehabilitated under a CIDA/IDA co-financed rehabi- litation project in 1999/2000. Due to limited funds at the time, the rehabilitation covered only critical components of the system, hence the problems currently being experienced.
Under a financing arrangement between EU and UNICEF with facilitation from the Community Water and Sanitation Agency (CWSA), under the Ministry, the Zabzugu/Tatale water supply system would be considered for rehabilitation and expansion as part of efforts to eradicate guinea-worm in Northern Region. The project is expected to begin early 2007.
Kpeshie Lagoon
Q. 559. Nii Amasah Namoale asked
the Minister for Water Resources, Works and Housing when the Kpeshie Lagoon between La and Teshie would be dredged and/or desilted.
Ms. Cecilia Dapaah 10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the Kpeshie Lagoon, has assumed the proportions of the Korle Lagoon in terms of size, complexity and seriousness of the siltation of the lagoon in question. Its dredging will have to be preceded by comprehensive studies, including
environmental impact assessment, to ensure a sustainable improvement and management of the lagoon. This programme will take off in the first quarter of 2007, and will bring on board other stakeholders such as the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Fisheries Commission to carry out the studies that will lead to dredging of the Kpeshie Lagoon.
Culvert at T-Junction
End of the La Central Drains
Q. 560. Nii Amasah Namoale asked
the Minister for Water Resources, Works and Housing when the culvert at the T-Junction end of the La Central Drains would be replaced with wider and larger culvert to facilitate smooth flow of water.
Ms. Dapaah 10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the design for the replacement of the existing culvert has been completed, and cost estimates are being finalized. As soon as it is finalized, funds will be secured for the procurement of the works in order to improve storm water flows which in turn, will reduce flooding in the area.
Mr. Chireh 10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the Deputy Minister indicated that funds would be procured or secured. Can she give us some indications as to the source of the funds?
Ms. Dapaah 10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, there are sources of funding that we seek to undertake such projects, and as soon as we are ready with the funds, I will let the hon. Member know.
Small Town Water System for Essam, Debiso and Yawmatwa
Q. 589. Mr. Sampson Ahi (on behalf of Mr. Michael Coffie Boampong) asked the Minister for Water Resources, Works and Housing when work would commence
Ms. Dapaah 10:10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, Essam, Debiso and Yawmatwa in the Bia District are under the European Union/ Government of Ghana financed 40 Small Towns Water and Sanitation Project for Western and Central Regions. Feasibility studies for the project have been completed and the financing agreement for the implementation phase concluded. Proposals for procurement of Consultants have been completed and civil works for the water supply schemes are expected to begin by mid-2007.
Mr. Lee Ocran 10:10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I would like to know from the hon. Deputy Minister if this project would entail contributions from the affected communities.
Ms. Dapaah 10:10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, normally
that is the norm; but where we realize that the community is unable to pay, we seek other funds to supplement.
Mr. Evans P. Aidoo 10:10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, in the hon. Deputy Minister's Answer she said that feasibility studies for the project have been completed and the financing agreement for the implementation phase concluded. Also, proposals for procurement of consultants have been completed and civil works for the water supply scheme are expected to begin by mid-2007.
Mr. Speaker, may I know from the hon. Deputy Minister what is holding them up now from starting the civil works, since the term “by mid-2007” seems so open to me?
Ms. Dapaah 10:10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, as I said,
proposals for procurement of consultants have been completed and civil works for the water supply schemes are expected to begin by mid-2007. Mr. Speaker, the fact that the proposals have been completed does not mean that they are starting right away. There are processes to go through -- the Board, the procurement process and everything, as the hon. Member knows. So that is why we are starting mid-2007.
Mr. Kuntu-Blankson 10:10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker,
may I know from the hon. Deputy Minister how much is supposed to come out of the communities before they are connected to this small water system?
Ms. Dapaah 10:10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, if I may correct my hon. Colleague, this is not a connection; it is an entirely new system that is going to be put in place.
Minority Leader (Mr. A. S. K.
Bagbin): Mr. Speaker, this is not in connection with the Question that has been asked but we just realized that one of the Questions that were scheduled for today suddenly did not find space on today's Order Paper. That is a Question that has been programmed for today by the Provisional Order Paper and for a number of times -- about six months ago. Question number 575 by hon. Alhaji Amadu Sorogho; we just cross-checked and we were told that the Chief Director said the Answer was not ready.
Mr. Speaker, I do not think that by
our Standing Orders Chief Directors or Ministers can hold us to ransom. The Standing Orders specifically give time within which these Answers should be submitted. We are being a bit lenient in enforcing the Standing Order, but it should not be abused. Mr. Speaker, I am just drawing your attention to this so that we insist that when Questions are scheduled to be answered, the Answers are made ready. It is not for them to be rescheduling our agenda for us. The hon. Member was
actually surprised; he got up earlier on but he could not catch your eye, and that is why you did not call him.
Mr. Speaker, I insist that the Ministry concerned, which is the Ministry of Water Resources, Works and Housing should expedite action on this Question which deals with the water situation in Abokobi- Madina -- very topical, very serious matter -- and let the good people know what is happening in that direction. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Speaker 10:10 a.m.
Hon. Minority Leader,
are you referring to Question number 575?
Mr. Bagbin 10:10 a.m.
That is so, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Felix Owusu-Adjapong 10:10 a.m.
Speaker, I saw it this morning and I had in mind trying to find out from the hon. Minister what the problem was. Unfortunately, he is not around but I am going to liaise with the hon. Deputy Minister and see if we can get the Answer ready so that it can be answered tomorrow.
Mr. Speaker 10:10 a.m.
Thank you for this
observation. Hon. Deputy Minister for Water Resources, Works and Housing, thank you very much for appearing to answer these Questions. You are discharged.
PAPERS 10:10 a.m.

Mr. Speaker 10:10 a.m.
Item 6 -- Motion. Minister for Finance and Economic Planning.
Mr. Owusu-Adjapong 10:10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker,
I want to crave your indulgence to allow the hon. Deputy Minister for Finance and Economic Planning to move the motion on behalf of the hon. Minister.

Chairman of the Committee (Mr. Kwadwo Agyei-Addo) 10:20 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I beg to present the Report of the Finance Committee.
1.0 Introduction
The National Lotto Bill was laid in the House on Thursday, 8th June 2006 and referred to the Finance Committee for consideration and report in accordance with the Constitution and the Standing Orders of the House.
To consider the Lotto Bill, the Committee met with the Minister for Finance and Economic Planning, hon. Kwadwo Baah-Wiredu, Deputy Minister for Finance and Economic Planning, Professor George Y. Gyan-Baffour and officials from the Department of National Lotteries, Private Lotto Organisations and Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning and reports as follows:
2.0 References
In considering the Bill, the Committee referred to the following documents:
1. The 1992 Constitution of the Republic of Ghana
2. The Standing Orders of the House
3. National Lotto (Amendment) Law 1989 (PNDCL 223)
4. The National Lotto Bill, 2006
The Committee wishes to express its appreciation to the following persons for submitting Memoranda and/or appearing
before the Committee to assist in its deliberations on the Bill:
1. Asare Original Pay All Ltd
2. National Lotto Receivers Union
3. University of Ghana Business School (UGBS)
4. Evangel is t Nana Kwame Ampadu
5. Golden Souvenir Limited
6. Sasthenes John Ollipoh
7. Mr. Joe Ayivor
8. Mr. Samuel Aidoo Kennedy
9. G h a n a L o t t o O p e r a t o r s Association
10. Dan Multi-Purpose Ltd.
11. Madam Deborah Essien
12. Mr. Isaac Okai
13. Madam Yaa Serwaa
14. Mr. Isaac Nuaman
15. Mr. Samuel Martins
16. Mr. Hayford Hodey
17. Mr. Vincent Hodey
18. Mr. Samuel Kwasi
19. Mr. John B. Arkoh 20. Mr. Samuel Kwakye
21. Mr. Dennis Debrah
22. Mr. Amekudzi Williams
23. Mr. Seth Akorli
24. Mr. Kofi Asiedu
25. Mr. Daniel K. Xomenyo
26. Mr. Francis Ametepee
27. Madam Joyce Nana Ama
28. Mr. Kwame Apiah
29. Madam Regina Ofori
30. Mr. Shaibu Bin Adams
31. Madam Georgina Aba
32. Mr. Kofi Asiedu
33. Mr. Charles Alorgbey
34. Mr. R. Asiedu
35. Mr. Joseph H. Mensah
36. Mr. Prince Esien
37. Mr. Albert Enchill
38. Mr. Frank Annan
39. Mr. Daniel Okai
40. Mr. Bright Asante
41. Mr. Godfred Hormenyo
42. Mr. Abu Issah
43. Mr. Ali Ninanja Kwayaja 44. Mr. Joshua Ansah Henaku
45. Mr. Isaac Owusu Afriyie
46. Mr. Samuel Oteng Okyere
47. Lotto Gold (Gh) Limited
3.0 Background
PNDCL 223 was promulgated in 1989 to deregulate the Lotto Industry and thereby subjecting the Department of National Lotteries to competition from Private Lotto Operators. It was expected that competition would lead to a more efficient industry and result in increased mobilization of revenue.
The decision to open up the Lotto Industry to Private Operators was also intended to generate funds for the District Assemblies and to support other noble causes such as Sports and the National Trust Fund.
The promulgation of PNDCL 223 expectedly led to the proliferation of private lottery operators, reaching sixty- one (61) by the year 2001. However, contrary to the expectations of PNDCL 223, District Weekly Lotto Operators and others such as Banker to Banker Operators have continued to pirate on numbers drawn by the Department of National Lotteries for their private gain and continuously operate without regard to existing law and regulations.
4.0 Object of the Bill
The purpose of the Bill is to revise the law regulating the operation of National Lotto and to restructure the National Lotteries Department so as to generate more revenue for the State.
Lotteries throughout the world have
Chairman of the Committee (Mr. Kwadwo Agyei-Addo) 10:20 a.m.

been used to generate revenue for national development and more particularly used as a means to finance social projects.

The Department of National Lotteries was set up as a Department of the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning to conduct the National Weekly Lotto for and on behalf of the Government. To date the Department has discharged this duty and has made substantial contributions to the Consolidated Fund over the years.

5.0 Observations and Recommendations

5.1 The Committee observed that in spite of the Department's immense contribution to national revenue, PNDCL 223 was promulgated to deregulate the lottery industry by subjecting the Department to competition from private lottery operators. It was expected that competition would lead to a more efficient industry and result in increased mobilization of revenue.

5.2 The Committee also observed that the decision to open up the lottery industry to private operators was also intended in part to generate funds for the District Assemblies and to support other noble causes such as sports and the National Trust Fund. As expected, the promulgation of PNDCL 223 led to a proliferation of private lottery operators numbering sixty-one (61) as at December


5.3 The Committee further observed that the introduction of the District Lotteries was intended to engender competition that would lead to efficiency and ultimately enhance revenue mobilization for national development.

This however did not lead to the
Mr. P. C. Appiah-Ofori (NPP -- As ikuma/Odoben /Brakwa) 10:20 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, universally, revenue generation is the responsibility of the central government. During the PNDC regime, lotto business was liberalized and opportunity was given to private individuals to set up lotto businesses. The aim was that the private man would generate revenue and pay taxes.
Mr. Speaker, regrettably, this has not been the order of the day. They work hard, generate a lot of money, manipulate their records and fail to pay money to the Government. So the time is ripe for this rigging to be curtailed. That is why the Government came out with this Lotto Bill.
Mr. Speaker, as a matter of fact, if you look at the Auditor-General's Reports from 2001 to 2005, the Government went into the market to borrow as much as ¢84 trillion through the issue of treasury bills and redeemed a total of ¢81 trillion, leaving a balance of about ¢3 trillion. In other words, domestic debt was increased by over ¢3 trillion.
The opportunity cost to the nation is very heavy; the money that should have been used to prosecute programmes to bring about improved quality of life for the people at the end would go into servicing
Mr. P. C. Appiah-Ofori (NPP -- As ikuma/Odoben /Brakwa) 10:20 a.m.

the loan. So getting rid of the private lotto operators and making Government the sole operator of the lotto business is the right option, and therefore everyone here should support this line of action. When the time comes for us to move the amendment, total, absolute support should be given to the Government to get this through.
Mr. J. Y. Chireh (NDC -- Wa West) 10:20 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I rise to add my voice to the motion. In doing so, I am looking at your Committee's Report, page 7, and with your permission I quote from paragraph 5.8 --
“The Authority when established should not engage in the direct retailing of lotto coupons.”
Mr. Speaker 10:20 a.m.
Chairman of the Finance
Committee, do you have a point of order to raise?
Mr. Agyei-Addo 10:20 a.m.
On a point of order.
Mr. Speaker, it looks as if the hon. Member for Wa West (Mr. Chireh) is seriously misleading this House. Apparently, he has not read the Report in its entirety. If he had
Mr. Chireh 10:20 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I have read
the entire Report, that is how I came to page 7. If he is saying this, fine. But the point I am making is that if you are the one making something and you do not have any safeguards -- Now he has assured me that the DNL would be in charge of the portion that normally would be produced by them. What then is this Bill we are looking at going to establish? DNL? Or, are we going to set up a lotto authority? If we do not get this cleared and include it in the formal consideration of the Bill, there may be some conflict in what we are doing.
Mr. David Oppon 10:30 a.m.

Ofoase/Ayirebi): Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of the motion on the floor, and in so doing I submit that one of the objectives of the original law setting up lotto operation in Ghana was to raise revenue for Government. This was to support various developmental activities in the country. So the DNL was set up with the responsibility of running a state or national lottery.

Over the years, and along with the general decline in the public sector, the department could not rise up to the challenge of a growing population and a corresponding growth in the appetite for staking lotto. There was this demand- supply gap that was created as a result. So in moved the banker-to-banker operators, as we now know them. The market forces made it impossible for those responsible for enforcing the lotto law to do so. It came to a point when the law enforcement agencies themselves had to cash in on the situation and then do business out of it, instead of stamping out the operations of the banker-to-banker people. It therefore

came in as a national response when the Government tried to legalize the operations of illegal lotto operation by promulgating a law to bring into force these lotto marketing companies.

Now, the direct revenue that was coming to the Government therefore had to pass through the hands of these private enterprises and their responsibility was to pay taxes to the Government. We do know that this has not really worked well for the country. Now, we need not go to law courts because we all know the problems that we have been having with these lotto operators. Over the years, there have been some commendable efforts to bring some sanity into the operations of the lotto business and to maximize revenue for the Government.

The truth of the matter, Mr. Speaker, is that since things have not worked out the way we thought that they should work and it is not going to work out -- I am yet to see a country that has so divested its interest in lotto to the extent that private operators have their own machines, they draw their own numbers and they print their own coupons with the only responsibility being that of paying taxes to the Government.

The only way, Mr. Speaker, to put things right is to enact a comprehensive law that will bring back the original objective of raising revenue for the Government and at the same time take into consideration the interest of those who have made lotto their business so that we are all winners in the long run.

My own analysis of the lotto business is that there are three phases of the business. The first phase, Mr. Speaker,

is the one involving the operation of the machine itself and the security printing of the coupons. The second phase is the distribution and sale of the coupons to stakers. The third phase is the responsibility for paying lucky winners their winning bonuses. Mr. Speaker, the first and the last phases are something that we cannot cede to private enterprise; this must be the sole preserve of the nation.

In the first phase, the security of

revenue lies in the Government itself running a lotto business, that is in terms of running the numbers or the machines that will bring out the numbers. And then the security of those whose stake lies in a government institution that will guarantee that all those who win get paid. This is because we have so many problems of some lotto operators running away when people win huge sums of money. The second phase which involves marketing, distribution and sale rightly lies with the private sector.

So this is where we should emphasize. I do hope that when it comes to considering the Bill we will make sure that those who are already in the lotto business have a stake in the distribution, marketing and sale of these lotto coupons so that jobs would not be lost.

It is important that the argument that

jobs are going to be lost be put to rest. This is because, I do believe that if and when the law comes into effect, if we maintain the number of products that we have already in the market, if we are able to maintain the level of stakers, if we are able to improve the confidence that people have in the staking of lotto, we will rather increase the staker base; we will rather increase the number of jobs that can be created out of the new law.

I urge all hon. Members that when the time comes for us to bring this Bill
Mr. David Oppon 10:30 a.m.

through, we will massively support it so that in the interest of Ghana we would get the necessary revenue to push this economy forward.

Mr. Alfred W. G. Abayateye (NDC

-- Sege): Mr. Speaker, thank you for the opportunity to speak to the motion on the floor.

Mr. Speaker, I am a member of the

Committee which dealt with the Bill. In the course of our work, we indeed took the opportunity to visit the Department of National Lotteries and some of us also visited some of the private lotto companies. In the course of the work, we realized that establishing a National Lottery Authority, indeed will be in the best interest of the State hence your Committee recommended that such a thing is done.

The National Lottery Authority will own, govern and operate lotto in the country. In fact, we likened it to the National Communications Authority. In the National Communications Authority, there is that authority but the Government is involved in the form of Ghana Telecom and there are other private companies such as Areeba, Kasapa and Tigo. The Government is involved with Ghana Telecom.

Again, we likened it to Ghana Cocoa Board in the cocoa industry. Ghana Cocoa Board is the body in charge of regulating the cocoa industry. The Government is involved in the form of Produce Buying Company and then there are the private cocoa companies including Ejumapa, Olam, Akuoku-Dumpo and others. So we realized that when such a body is established, it will give room to private operators to operate and we anticipate that more revenue would be generated and it will be better than the Department
Mr. Simon Osei 10:40 a.m.

Bosomtwe): Mr. Speaker, I urge hon. Members to support this Bill when it comes to the point of passing it.

Mr. Speaker, the world over, lotto

business has always been under the ambience of the Government as a means of raising revenue. Unfortunately, in this country, the lotto operating business is under the private sector and as a result the Government is losing huge sums of revenue which could have gone into the development of this country.

Mr. Speaker, the current Bill in its

form, if passed, is not going to give total monopoly to the Government but rather partial monopoly or what I will term Government-Private Sector Partnership. Mr. Speaker, monopoly of the Government

will be in the printing of the booklets, drawing of the numbers and then payment of winnings.

Mr. Speaker, the current structure of the private lotto operators will not change significantly apart from the fact that they cannot print their own booklets, draw their own numbers and also make payments to lucky winners. They are going to take full charge of the retailing outlets of the lotto business in the country and if this is properly implemented, it is going to help increase employment and income. Thus, income and employment generation, so far as the lotto business is concerned, are going to increase.

Mr. Speaker, why do I say this? Let

us take practical example like Super 06. Currently, maybe, Super 06 is selling its own booklets. But if the law is passed, what is going to happen is that a dealer of Super 06 can sell all the products of all the other licensed lotto operators. For instance, currently, with the communications sector, you can enter one shop and one person will be selling Areeba, Onetouch, Kasapa and Tigo products, et cetera. By so doing, it is going to create more employment and then the income generating capacity of people who are going to sell or retail the lotto booklets is going to increase in the sense that they will have a wider range of sales of the booklets.

Again, Mr. Speaker, even these licensed private lotto operators would also have the chance to develop their own product and for doing so, the National Lotto Authority will pay them on commission on the net returns that would be obtained from the product so designed -- Mr. Speaker, once this Bill is passed, it would increase revenue to the Central Government and
Mr. Lee Ocran (NDC -- Jomoro) 10:40 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I rise to support the motion. I am happy to note that at long last, some people are beginning to realize that the State has a place in the operation of the economy and that it is not everything that should be privatized. We have been making fetish of privatization and we are now beginning to see the proof -- [Interruptions] -- We are now beginning to see that the State has a role to play in operationalizing the economy -- [Interruption.]
Mr. Oppon-Kusi 10:40 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, on
a point of order. Mr. Speaker, the hon. Member for Jomoro is trying to mislead this House. He is saying that now people are realizing that the State has a stake in the economy of the nation. I believe the State always had a stake in the economy of the nation. Mr. Speaker, I believe that the hon. Member is confused about the State as an operator and the State as an entity that regulates the economy. They are two different issues altogether, so he should not mislead the House. The State has always been interested and been at the central point of the economy. Making the private sector the engine of growth does not mean that the State no more recognizes its role in the economy.
Mr. Ocran 10:40 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, privatizing
all aspects of national development -- I was saying that the operation of the economy is bad and that is what I am talking about. Since the inception of the Economic Recovery Programme (ERP),

it has been sounded into our ears that the private sector is the engine of the economy. In the view of some of us, the State should be the engine and the private sector should be just the driver to drive the economy whilst the State remains the engine, because it is the economy like ours that have got the capacity to serve as an engine.

It is therefore very welcoming that we are taking lotto out of the hands of parasites and vultures and giving it to the State. But for sometime now, contribution from the national lottery or the lotto business in general to the economy has been declining and it is because monitoring has been poor; moneys which otherwise should have gone to the State have gone into the pockets of private individuals. I am urging my fellow hon. Members of Parliament that this Bill is a Bill that should not see any partisanship; we should all partner to approve this Bill.

With these few comments, I urge all

to approve it.
Mr. I. K. Asiamah (NPP 10:40 a.m.

Mponua): Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of the motion on the floor. Mr. Speaker, reading the Report from the Committee on Finance, it is clear that they adopted a consensus approach and that is very smooth with this whole thing. They met all stakeholders and from the Report, it is clear that all sides have agreed that this is indeed the best for mother Ghana.

Mr. Speaker, I think the fear of private lotto operators that there was going to be a monopoly by the Department of National Lotteries (DNL) has been removed indeed. Clearly, going through the Report, DNL is going to be a competitor in this whole lotto business and that means it is going to promote efficiency in the lotto business. As for me, it is very important that DNL also become a small competitor and improve upon their operations.

Mr. Speaker, I heard that fears were expressed by other lotto operators for loss of job, but clearly from the Report, it is rather going to enhance and boost the job market; more people are going to be engaged in the lotto business and that for me is also very significant. There is also an issue about revenue generation. I think from this Report, we saw that all bottlenecks in the operations of lotto business would be removed. That is very, very important.

Mr. Speaker, with these few words, I would urge this honourable House that as my other hon. Colleague said, we should adopt a consensus approach in accepting this Report.

Mr. Haruna Iddrisu (NDC -- Tamale

South): Thank you, Mr. Speaker, for the opportunity to be associated with the motion on the floor.
Dr. A. A. Osei 10:40 a.m.
On a point of order.
Mr. Speaker, he is misleading the House. I do not know if he read the Report of the Committee. The Report clearly encourages the private sector. What he said was that the Government is taking the lead. Mr. Speaker, governing is not taking a lead. The hon. Member for Jomoro (Mr. Lee Ocran) has some socialist tendency -- [Laughter] but this Bill itself [Inter- ruption] --
Mr. Haruna Iddrisu 10:40 a.m.
Mr. Speaker,
I am sure if the hon. Deputy Minister for Finance and Economic Planning had some little patience he would have appreciated many of the issues that I would raise and I would do so making reference to the Committee's Report.
Mr. I. K. Asiamah 10:40 a.m.
Mr. Speaker,
on a point of order. Mr. Speaker, I think my hon. young Colleague is misleading this House. He is doing so in the sense that PNDC Law 233 was promulgated in 1989 to deregulate the lotto business. Mr. Speaker, if they do believe in social philosophy, why did they also continue under the National Democratic Congress (NDC) regime? They deregulated it.
Mr. Haruna Iddrisu 10:40 a.m.
Mr. Speaker,
deregulation means opening up and I am sure -- [Interruptions.] Deregulation in the private sector; you borrowed it from the NDC and you know what deregulation means. [Interruption.]
Mr. Speaker 10:40 a.m.
Hon. Member, do not be distracted.
Mr. Haruna Iddrisu 10:40 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, thank you for your consistent support -- [Laughter.] I would like to refer to a few paragraphs of your Committee's Report
and Mr. Speaker, that explains my second reason why I stand opposed to this Bill and would encourage hon. Members to support me in making sure that this Bill goes back and comes back properly.
In one breath, Mr. Speaker, your Committee is recommending the establishment of National Lotto Authority, that is what the Committee itself is recommending to this House now. But we are guided in this Bill by the memorandum.
Mr. Yaw Ntow-Ababio 10:50 a.m.
On a point of order. Mr. Speaker, I would like the hon. Member to repeat the words that he used, that he thanks Mr. Speaker for his consistent support. There are rules and regulations in this House; the Speaker is not supposed to support any Member of the House and if the hon. Member is referring to Mr. Speaker as supporting him in his argument, I do not think it is right.
Mr. Speaker 10:50 a.m.
Hon. Member, you have no point of order.
Mr. Haruna Iddrisu 10:50 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, thank you once again. Mr. Speaker, my comment was that you have encouraged the expression of dissent and I was just acknowledging that. You prevailed upon me not to be distracted by some of these unwarranted interventions that sometimes occasion debates on this floor.
Mr. Speaker, if you read paragraph 5.8
Mr. Speaker 10:50 a.m.
Hon. Member for Abetifi, do you have a point of order?
Mr. E. A. Agyepong 10:50 a.m.
Yes, Mr. Speaker, I have a point of order. Mr. Speaker, it will be worthwhile for the hon. Member to know that the Memorandum does not, repeat, not, form part of the Bill. The Bill starts from clause 1 or section 1 of the Bill. The Memorandum is just an explanatory note for anybody who wants to read it. Again, nothing prevents the Committee from recommending a new thing or a new version to the House. Therefore, whatever the Committee has done, it has done the right thing. So that proposition which he is bringing up does not hold. They have every right to make a recommendation and it is for the full House to either accept or reject that recommen-dation. So what he is saying is neither here nor there.
Mr. Speaker 10:50 a.m.
Hon. Member, let him
Mr. Haruna Iddrisu 10:50 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, may I refer you to article 106 of the Constitution, in particular 106 (2) so that the hon. Chairman of the Committee on Defence and Interior will appreciate the significance of a Memorandum when Bills are brought to this House. Mr. Speaker, it reads and with your permission I quote:
“No Bill, other than such a bill as is referred to in paragraph (a) of article 108 of this Constitution, shall be introduced in Parliament unless --
(a) i t i s accompanied by an explanatory memorandum
. . .”
Mr. Speaker, I was only saying that we have to be guided by the Memorandum. I am not saying that it is part of the Bill; and I am saying that the Memorandum as you read the first, second and third paragraphs is seeking to review an existing enactment, which this House has power to do. But what I am saying is that the object now, as the same Committee is telling us, is to establish a National Lotto Authority; but that is not captured in the intent of this particular Bill, if you are going to rely on the guide.
So I am simply saying that let this Bill come properly, not as National Lotto Bill but as National Lotto Authority Bill like we have seen before -- Millennium Challenge Authority (MCA) and so on. We have established them so we are guided by the composition of that Authority.
But Mr. Speaker, my other argument is to refer you to paragraph 5.5 of your Committee's Report. Mr. Speaker, if somebody fails to do what is right, to mobilize needed revenue, private lotto operators should not suffer as a result of it. Whether they are contributing to the Consolidated Fund or they are contributing to District Assemblies, they
exist. We all know the tax formulas; we all know how much they ought to pay. Indeed, the Committee itself -- and with your permission I quote again -- “acknowledges” that about ¢366 million is paid as operational levy to the AMA alone. They contribute a lot; they contribute ¢5 billion or more to the VAG Special Raffle.
Mr. Speaker, we need to allow the private lotto operators to coexist with the Department of National Lotteries. The argument here is about their contribution to revenue and the fact that enough is not being done.
Do you collect revenue only by reviewing existing legislation? You go and do administrative things. Whoever is responsible to take taxes from private lotto operators must be seen to be efficient and must be seen to be mobilizing the needed revenue on behalf of the State, rather than come here and say that this House must give you the authority to go and amend an existing legislation, simply because you are dissatisfied with their contribution to national revenue and their contribution to the Consolidated Fund.
Mr. Speaker, I can further refer you to your Committee's own Report. Indeed, Mr. Speaker, I would like to quote under paragraph 5.4 and this is a legitimate concern which the private lotto operators stated. The last three lines of page six of the first paragraph, states:
“However, the private lotto operators fear that creating a State monopoly over lottery would lead to the loss of these jobs thereby adding to the current unemploy-ment problems”.
Mr. Speaker, we all know that this banker-to-banker operators create jobs -- [Interruption].
Prof. Gyan-Baffour 10:50 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I

think the hon. Gentleman on the other side is misleading everybody here. Nobody is saying that you are going to create an entire monopoly. That is not what the essence of the Bill is. The essence of the Bill is that we are going to monopolize production and distribution but the retail would be liberalized.

So all these private lotto operators are going to operate side by side another State lotto operator. We are not going to monopolize everything in that industry; it is part of that industry. You see, the industry chain begins with production and then the distribution and then the retail. The retail is not going to be monopolized; it is going to be liberalized. The existing lotto operators will operate side by side the State operator; that is all that we are saying here.

Again, Mr. Speaker, is the issue about the fact that the Memorandum is different from this. Mr. Speaker, it is your Committee that met and your Committee decided on what it was that they would have to report to the House. That is all it is; it is up to the House to do it; it is not up to any individual to say that what the Committee did was wrong. It is Mr. Speaker's Committee that decided on that. What is actually before us here today is Mr. Speaker's Report. So let us focus on the Report and then see what is in the Report and make sure that we get the right things done, so that we can get the right revenue for the people of this country; and that everybody here can have an industry that can actually promote employment and create more jobs for the economy.
Mr. Speaker 10:50 a.m.
Hon. Member for Tamale South, have you looked at the amendments proposed?
Mr. Haruna Iddrisu 10:50 a.m.
Rightly so, Mr. Speaker. I even had markings on the Committee's Report. Mr. Speaker, we are not dealing with Consideration Stage yet but I would like us to look at clause 4 “Prohibition of lottery” and I would like
to do that guided by the Committee's own Report. I have not seen them propose any amendment to clause 4; in their own Committee's proposal, there is no recommendation on clause 4. Mr. Speaker, we are not at the Consideration Stage but if you look at clause 4 it reads as follows.
“Prohibition of lottery: A person other than the Service shall not operate any form of lottery”.
Whom are you referring to there, and what amendments have you proposed for us to be assured that private lotto operators can exist?
Dr. A. A. Osei 11 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I need to be guided. Is he proposing an amendment? At the appropriate time -- He said we are not at the Consideration Stage. At that time he was allowed to say that. But at this point it is a Second Reading and the hon. Member is trying to propose an amendment. I need some guidance.
Mr. Speaker 11 a.m.
You do not need any guidance now. Please, let him continue. Please, conclude.
Mr. Haruna Iddrisu 11 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I think I should be concluding. I am not a believer of the liberal school of thought but the New Patriotic Party (NPP) from the time of Dr. Busia as I have read, has
Mr. Speaker 11 a.m.
Hon. Member for Tamale South, let us deal with the Report.
Mr. H. Iddrisu 11 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I thank you very much for the opportunity and hope that those of them who have faith in their old liberal values and practices will consider this Bill as being dangerous for the private sector and an attempt to destroy, if not eliminate, private lotto operators. That they will go ahead to improve upon their revenue drive to make the needed tax money from private lotto operators, and that if they want to establish the National Lotto Authority, they should come properly and we will support them. I thank you, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Daniel Abodakpi (NDC -- Keta) 11 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I wish to add my voice to that of the Chairman of the Committee for the House to approve the Bill as being amended by the Committee. Mr. Speaker, it is said and I think it is true that an unexamined life is not worth living and this is as true in the life of individuals as it is in the life of nations. I think at a certain point or juncture in the life of this country, it was thought appropriate to liberalize the lotto business in view of the failings of State monopoly at the time. Having done so, I think over a period of time, it is just proper that we examine that decision, that policy that we put in place years by to see whether it has yielded the needed dividend.
Mr. Speaker, what is true is that as we liberalized the lotto business, safeguards that will ensure that the objectives behind that decision were realized were not put in place. Capacities were not developed at the district levels to enable our tax
administrators to be able to fully tax the operations of the lotto operators. We all know the weaknesses of the District Assemblies even as at now because of capacity problems; so that is true.
I heard it on the floor of this House that private lotto operations are not heard of anywhere in the world. I think it is not true. The truth of the matter is that private lotto operations are widespread throughout this world and in many countries they have played very important roles towards national taxes -- [Interruption.] The evidence is in the States (United States of America), in the United Kingdom (UK), in Malaysia, in Singapore, all these places.
So it is in this context that I think that the amendment being brought by your Committee should be looked at very critically. I do not think that bringing back monopoly is right and that is why your Committee through its deliberations decided to vary the policy position as captured in the memorandum that the Executive arm of government brought to this House, for us to introduce a National Lottery Authority to superintend over the whole lotto business and to allow for competition at the retail stage of the lotto business.
Mr. Speaker 11 a.m.
Hon. Member for Nwabiagya, do you have a point of order?
Mr. Owusu-Bio 11 a.m.
Yes, Mr. Speaker. I just heard my senior Colleague giving examples of countries where private lotto operators do operate and I overheard him say the UK. Will he please at least cite just
Mr. Owusu-Bio 11 a.m.

one private company in the UK which does that? I do not think and I have never heard of that in the UK, so he should just give us an example of one private company otherwise he should withdraw.
Mr. Speaker 11 a.m.
Hon. Member for Keta, did you mention UK at all?
Mr. Abodakpi 11 a.m.
Yes, I did.
Mr. Speaker 11 a.m.
I thought you mentioned Malaysia.
Mr. Abodakpi 11 a.m.
Yes, I did. Virgin Lottery is a private lottery operator in the UK.
Mr. Speaker 11 a.m.
In any case, continue.
Mr. Abodakpi 11 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I think that even as we do this, it is important that we enhance the capacities of our tax administrators to be able to be on top of their jobs so that the failings that had occasioned the abysmal performance of tax revenue agencies at the district level can be removed. So I think, I will at the Consideration Stage propose some amendments that perhaps we can introduce to ensure that the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning takes steps to ensure that we enhance the capacities of our revenue agencies at the district level, at the metropolitan levels, et cetera, to ensure that capacities are better developed to limit the haemorrhage that has occasioned many of the concerns that they raised on the floor of the House.
With these few comments, I beg to support the motion.
Minority Leader (Mr. A. S. K. Bagbin) 11:10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I believe strongly that the efforts of the country to take a second look at the operations of lotteries in this country are long overdue. Mr. Speaker, for some time now, the aim of
all governments has been to generate more revenue through the operations of lotteries in the country. It was thought that privatizing the whole operations of lotteries would have earned more money for the development of the nation not only from the centre but also at the decentralized unit, hence the PNDC Law which is now being called into question.
I am aware that for some time now, the Government has been struggling to review its legislation and restructure the whole concept and operations of lotteries in the country. I am, however, not convinced that the Committee has properly thought through the concept that is being proposed to this House today. That is very different from what was proposed in the Bill and I have some difficulties and I will raise them for the consideration of the House.
Mr. Speaker, there is nothing in this Report to convince us that more revenue will be generated by re-centralizing the operations of lotteries. There is nothing in this Report to show that if we set up the National Lotto Authority, we stand to generate more revenue for the State than we are having now. There is nothing here. We seem to be running away anytime we are faced with challenges in any area or sector. We have decentralized the system, we have a problem of policing the private lotteries, we have the problem of ensuring they are operating legally and that they pay when people win, and that they pay revenue to the District Assemblies. We are confronted with these challenges and we are running away from them by trying to re-centralize the whole operations of national lotteries in this country.

So Mr. Speaker, in trying to do that, we should have been told that if we establish the National Lotto Authority --
Minority Leader (Mr. A. S. K. Bagbin) 11:10 a.m.

[Interruption.] Yes, we are not told that if we produce the coupons and market them and license the Department of National Lotteries (DNL) to also be an agent, we will stand to generate more revenue. There is nothing here to convince me that we will generate more revenue and I doubt that we stand to generate more revenue.

I believe strongly that it is the agents, the marketing companies that will stand to get more revenue. But I do not know how that will be channelled to the Authority and thereby to the State. We have to say something about it because I do not see the linkage here; I do not see it at all.

Again, Mr. Speaker, there is the issue of the Games Commission. We have the Games Commission; what is going to happen to that institution, to that authority? We need to look at that also. I believe the intention is good but we have a default, and the default is the rush to introduce new concepts without looking far into the future as to the viability of those concepts. I think that the Committee should, in the consideration of this Bill, have invited some of the Committees of this House, like the Legal Committee. But I think that the focus was only on the generation of funds and not on the legalities involved.

Mr. Speaker, I would want to end by saying that it will benefit the House and the nation if we give more time to the consideration of this Bill. It is a very key legislation and as I said, I am not convinced that we stand to benefit more. I am also a bit hesitant to encourage a system of re-centralization. We have done it even in the District Assembly system -- the decentralized structures. We seem to have re-centralized some of the functions at the Ministry of Local Government, Rural Development and Environment. It is the same thing we would want to do here.

We are trying to re-centralize some of

the areas that Government would want to relieve itself of; we are now bringing them back to the Central Government. The issue of even payment of winnings, the issue of people travelling around, the issue of falsification of tickets, where it is centralized and being printed by one authority -- we know that even these marketing companies can falsify and forge these tickets and also start selling. They can easily do that because of the level of education of our people. You can put security marks on the tickets but the people at the grass roots who are going to buy the tickets are not knowledgeable enough to know those things or to crosscheck them.

So we would stand the risk of encouraging marketing companies coming out with their own coupons, selling and amassing the wealth again. So we need to take a lot of time to properly think through this new concept that is being introduced, and that is why I believe the Department of National Lotteries itself, from the Report of the Committee, raised concerns about the way things have suddenly changed in this House.

So I would want to urge upon you, Mr. Speaker, to, with the indulgence of the House, allow the Committee more time to think through it, come back and see whether they can convince us to accept the new concept. This is the view that I have to express and the hon. Minister could respond to the issues I have raised.
Dr. A. A. Osei 11:10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I want to first of all thank all hon. Members who contributed to the motion that is under consideration. I believe that we have taken note of the concerns of the Minority Leader. I would have wished that he was here when his junior, the hon. Member for Sege (hon. Abayateye) was speaking. I think some of the points -- [Interruption] -- he was raising would have addressed his concerns. If you would recall, he likened the Authority to the NCA; and
that is the issue.
I think the Committee has thought through this very well. The defect is what they are trying to correct. What we have now is very defective, Mr. Speaker, and the Committee has spent three months, three solid months on this. You would recall, as he has said, that we have been trying to do this since 2002. And this Committee, I can assure you, has spent a lot of time, not only discussing the issue with the private operators but also getting information from around the world. So during the Consideration Stage, I think we will have the opportunity to address most of the concerns.
But one of the concerns that you have about the money coming to the Government will be addressed. If it is prepaid from the wholesaler, I will get my revenue upfront and what is due there; it does not matter to me. The concept of pre- payment guarantees that the person there receives it upfront. If you do not sell it, that is your problem. But I think, for us, that was the key part of the consideration the Committee gave that assures us that it will really improve the system.
But as I said, Mr. Speaker, I would want to thank all hon. Members who contributed on both sides. Mr. Speaker, your Committee has really spent a lot of time and I would want to, on behalf of the hon. Minister for Finance and Economic Planning, commend them for a job well done. We believe that it is a Bill that is worth looking at. They have looked at it closely and I think that at the Consideration Stage, we will do what is necessary to address all their concerns. We would want to urge you at the appropriate time to pass this Bill.
Question put and motion agreed to. The National Lotto Bill was accordingly
read a Second time.
Mr. Speaker 11:10 a.m.
Item 7, Committee Sittings, the Leadership of the House?
Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 11:10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I guess we have exhausted the business for the day and there are many outstanding committee sittings. Mr. Speaker, I beg to move that this House do now adjourn till tomorrow, 10th November, 2006 at 10.00 a.m.
Mr. John Tia 11:10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I beg to second the motion.
ADJOURNMENT 11:10 a.m.