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Business News Thu, 27 Sep 2007

Lotto operators bare teeth at VAT Service

Accra, Sept. 27, GNA - The Ghana Lotto Operators Association (GLOA) on Thursday expressed dismay at the decision by the Value Added Tax (VAT) Service to stop the printing and supply of Lotto Coupons to its members with effect from September 30. Speaking at a press briefing in Accra, Mr Seth Asante Amoani, Secretary of GLOA, said: "We are surprised that the VAT Service should have recourse to the Lotto Act at the time when certain relevant provisions of the said law are being fiercely challenged in court." Mr Amoani noted that VAT was allowing itself to be embroiled in a matter, which fell outside its scope of operations. GLOA said its members were not consulted over the decision of the Service, noting that the Service in January 1999 decided to print and supply them with the coupons.

"Since 1999 the Association and the VAT Service have enjoyed mutual cooperation founded on proper understanding and appreciation of each other's role as partners in the generation of revenue to the economy." He questioned why the VAT Service asked operators to contact the National Lottery Authority for the supply of lotto coupons. Quoting sections of the Act, Mr Amoani noted that it did not in any way require Private Lotto Operators or VAT Registered Operators to contact the National Lottery Authority for lotto coupons. "The Act talks about coupons for 'National Lotto' and this has nothing to do with private lotto operators. "The decision and measures that directly affect private sector operators must be characterised by the requirement of fairness, equity and good conscience."

He noted that the pronouncement was detrimental to the interest of private lotto operators saying that private lotto operators, which were mostly limited liability companies, were duly registered under the laws of the country and also provided jobs. Mr Amoani said with effect from October 1, operators would print out their own coupons, which would rather relieve government of expenditure in printing coupons.

On September 12, the VAT Service said following the enactment of the National Lotto Act 722, it would no longer print and supply lotto coupons to GLOA, which it described as former Lotto operators. Consequently, the Service asked them to contact the National Lottery Authority for the supply of their coupons in accordance with Section 15 of the National Lotto Act.

The Service urged all VAT registered operators who had unused VAT lotto coupons in stock to return them to the Commissioner of VAT Service for re-imbursement of the cost not later than September 30.

Source: GNA