The Director-General of the National Lotteries Authority (NLA), Samuel Awuku, has said that the Authority although was rich some years back, it is currently facing some financial constraints, thereby, making it impossible to meet some of its obligations.
However, he is hopeful that the NLA will bounce back to its glorious days considering the number of reforms and or measures they are putting in place to generate more revenue.
Appearing before the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) on Tuesday, July 26, 2022, an emotional Awuku told the Committee how the Authority is even struggling to renovate its 215 housing units across the country.
One of the major challenges, he lamented, is the low rent rate residents are paying to live in the Authority’s housing facilities.
For instance, he said some residents living in a bedroom facility belonging to the NLA at Sakumono pay as low as GH₵40.00 a month as rent. Others, he added, also pay GH₵70 a month for a two-bedroom apartment at Sakumono also belonging to the NLA.
This, he noted, is unacceptable, further informing the PAC chaired by the NDC MP for Ketu North, James Klutse Avedzi, that it was about time to renovate all the housing properties of the Authority and ensure that they are properly maintained in order to get residents to pay prevailing rent charges to shore up revenue inflow of the Authority.
According to him, the NLA since 2017, has not conducted any major renovation of its facilities spread across the country. He said the buildings are deteriorating and there was a need to act swiftly to save the situation.
To this end, he said management has informed the Board of the Authority about the situation and is currently considering either embarking on a public-private partnership (PPP) arrangement or use some of the Authority’s internally generated funds to renovate all their building facilities.
“Currently, it is captured in our procurement plan for the year and we hope to start in the last quarter of the year. We cited issues budgetary constraints to the Board but these buildings definitely needed a facelift and human beings were living in it and are still living in it”, he noted.
He added “We are also taking steps to review our rent policy as an Authority because we have a situation where someone living in Sakumono pays GH₵40.00 a month to live in our facility. A two-bedroom going for GH₵70.00. Definitely, we won’t be able to generate enough to help renovate these buildings”.
Awuku’s comment follows a question that was asked by a member of the PAC as to why the NLA is not renovating its housing facilities across the country. The Auditor-General on the Public Accounts of Ghana: Public Boards, Corporations and Other Statutory institutions for the period ended December 31, 2019, cited in its report that a six-bedroom residential block owned by the NLA lacks maintenance.
Commenting further on the issue, the NLA Director-General said it is only a comprehensive rent policy together with some other reforms embarked upon that will help turnaround the Authority.
“We are discussing with the Board. From next year, we need to have a comprehensive policy on rent so that the NLA will organize itself properly to generate more revenue and pay staff their rent allowances then we can go into proper management of our facilities and give them out. That then can bring us revenue but with the current arrangement, we keep subsidizing and the buildings are deteriorating. It is not sustainable”, he underscored.
The NLA has 215 building units across the country. Sixty-three of these units are two-bedroom units at Adentan; 46 one-bedroom apartments at Adentan; 36 one-bedroom units at Sakumono; 39 one-bedroom units at Dansoman; two-bedroom units in Kumasi; two-bedroom units in Koforidua; two-bedroom units in Takoradi; six-bedroom flats with an outer house in Takoradi; two-bedroom units in Sunyani; two-bedroom units in Tamale; and two bedroom units in Ho with one converted into office.