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Opinions of Monday, 30 March 2020

Columnist: Agya Nimo, Contributor

NLA must continue operation in regions outside the lockdown

A growing number of businesses have temporarily closed or restricted physical access in an effort to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

The partial lockdown has affected many companies across different industries, both private and government institutions, including the NLA.

This growing development particularly with the NLA has not gone down well with gamers.

There have been several reports of enquiries across Ghana, from both loyal and new players of the NLA 5/90 game all asking one question, whether the NLA will close operations due to the lockdown directive from Government.

This has been particularly raised by numerous players resident in the 14 administrative regions that have been excluded from the lockdown. The argument from them is that, for the greater good, the NLA must continue operate because approximately 60% to 70% of loyal customers of 5/90 game are resident outside the lockdown zones. They further argued that most of the players play for more than fun and that it’s a means to supplement their income which has become increasingly crucial in this time to help ease the burden of paying their bills and to cater for their families during this period.

Others also opined that most companies are only restricting operations within the two major affected regions, Greater Accra and Ashanti region, and are asking employees within the catchment areas to work from home to curb the corona virus spread. It’s the collective wish of the players for the government of Ghana to allow NLA to operate, albeit following all necessary precautionary measures, as it will go a long way to support people financially in this crucial time.

It must be noted, that over the years, the NLA through its ‘Development through games’ mandate has created moments of hope and happiness through exciting lottery games that generate additional revenue to the consolidated fund for national development and as such satisfies all stakeholders across the value chain. It has also worked tirelessly to create and preserve a thriving working environment that employs both the formal and informal sectors, and as such total closure at this point will not only pose a big blow to workers in the value chain but the larger gaming populace.

Another point of consideration raised by a section of players is on the opportunity for the funds realized from the 5/90 games to be channeled purposefully to directly assist the Government’s quest to generate internal funds via the Corona virus fund established by H.E. Nana Akuffo Addo to help in the fight against this pandemic. Suggestions ranged from augmenting the health care provisions to aid front line workers most especially and to provide relief for those directly affected by the corona virus.

The call from the people is simple, there is a need to survive despite the partial lockdown and as such the government must take a second critical look at the situation and opportunity it presents and allow the NLA to comply with social distancing health directives and continue operations in regions outside the lockdown catchment areas.

This is all in a bid to achieve the following; keep the value chain afloat, give players a chance to make money and augment their incomes and contribute to the consolidated fund which can be purposefully allocated to aid the fight against the pandemic. We are all in this together.