Call it serendipity, as a simple business trip to an island in Southern Europe, paves the way for the birth of a national treasure in Ghana.
A Finance Minister’s fascination with the lottery whenhe chances on it while on an official visit, culminates in the birth of the Department of National Lotteries (DNL), when he informs the President of the Republic, Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah of his exciting discovery.
After discussions with the Maltese Government, another visit by Ghanaian envoys to understudy the lottery, the secondment of Maltese officials to help Ghana set up its own lottery body, and the passing of a Lotteries bill in parliament in 1962, DNL is officially instituted.
Sixty years on, DNL now an autonomous body, the National Lottery Authority NLA, reconnects with its mother lottery Authority in Malta.
A team comprising some Board Members and Management including Mr. Philip Anning, Madam Frances Joana Adda, the Director-General, Mr. Samuel Awuku, the Chief Internal Auditor, Mrs. EmmanuellaEphraim, the Head of Corporate Affairs, Ms. Judith Kormle and the Interim Chairman of the Association of Lotto Marketing Companies, Mr. Francis Opokuofficially paid a visit to some selected government Offices and the Malta Gaming Authority to invite them to NLA’s 60th Anniversary Celebration.
The NLA Delegation, representing the Board Chairman, His Emminence, Torgbui Francis Nyono,together with Ghana’s High Commissioner to Malta, H.E Barbara Benissa first called on Malta’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Dr. Ian Borg, who paid glowing tribute to the partnership between Ghana and Malta and called for closer collaboration between these countries.
He wished the NLA well and promised to reciprocatethe official visit in January as part of his Official tour to Ghana. He was confident Ghana could still learn from the Maltese experience since Malta had advanced from what Francis Brennan taught Ghana some 60 years ago.
Next, the NLA team led by the Ghana High Commissioner to Malta, H.E Barbara A. Benisa also had the privilege of paying a courtesy call on the Speaker of the House of Representatives of Malta, Hon. Anġlu Farrugia. He warmly welcomed the NLA Team and handed over a copy of the 1962 Registration Certificate of NLA to the Director General, Mr. Samuel Awuku. He also advised the NLA team to change its lottery processes and strategies to achieve greater revenue and growth.
The Director General of NLA, Mr. Samuel Awukuthanked the Speaker of Parliament, for the hospitality and for taking the time to meet with the team even though the Maltese Parliament was in session deliberating on their budget for 2023.
The NLA delegation also visited the Malta Gaming Authority, the regulator of the National Lottery in Malta. They were met by the Chief Officer of Policy and International Affairs, Mr. Kinga Warda who thanked the team for the recognition and gave them an insight into their game.
The CEO of the main operator of the Maltese National Lottery, Mr. Johann Schembri while proposing ways NLA can deal with the activities of illegal lottery operators, expressed concern over the high commission rates paid by NLA and warned that this development could affect the Authority within the next few years ifnot stopped.
They indicated that Malta, which had one of the highest commission rates of 7% in the world is seeking to guard against future increases, citing countries like the United Kingdom and the United States which currently pay commission rates of around 6%. They indicated their willingness to partner with NLA in developing the game to another level.
The Malta Gaming Authority confirmed itsparticipation at NLA ‘s 60t Anniversary Grand Durbar.
The visit to Malta was facilitated by the Maltese High Commissioner to Ghana, H.E
Jean Claude Galea Mallia.