18 July 2001

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More then 1,500kg of VAT receipts in lottery bid

By Kurt Sansone

No one at the Lotto Department bothers to count the large number of VAT receipts participating in the regular monthly lottery, but the Director of Public Lotto, Alfred Muscat revealed that the total weight of the receipts has reached an access of 1,500kg a month. But inside sources said this equalled 7 million receipts a month.

If this is the case then this is a major coup for those politicians who have been calling for a more transparent and fiscal morality.

It is the department’s practice to weigh the receipts every month and Mr Muscat told The Malta Business and Financial Times that the weight has been increasing month after month.

Last November the VAT receipts lottery passed on to the Lotto Department. The lottery was revamped making it more attractive for people to participate in. Ever since November the department has seen a consistent increase in the public’s response, which Mr Muscat described as ‘excellent’.

People have to send in their VAT receipts with their name and ID card number written on the back of each receipt. The receipts have to reach the Lotto Department by the 10th of each month to be eligible to participate in the draw.

Mr Muscat attributes the success of the lottery to three principle reasons. The first obvious reason is that participation is free of charge. "All that people need to do is send in VAT receipts. You can go and take a coffee and end up with Lm100 in your pocket," Mr Muscat remarked.

The second reason concerns the way the lottery is structured. Mr Muscat believes that the new concept is more transparent and easier for people to understand. One lottery comprising both fiscal and manual receipts is drawn every month with the lowest prise to be won standing at Lm100 and the highest standing at Lm5,000. The total prize money is Lm25,000.
The surprise element constitutes the third reason for the lottery’s success. Mr Muscat explained that the department notifies winners immediately, which makes the lottery even more intriguing. And with almost 50 winners being drawn every month there have been a staggering amount of surprises since November.

The public’s increased participation in the lottery may have made a positive contribution towards government’s revenue collection efforts. Recent figures released by the National Statistics Office show that during the January-May period this year, the total revenue from VAT reached Lm47 million. This represents an increase of Lm5.3 million, or 12.7% over the same period last year.

With these figures, Mr Muscat may be justified in believing that the lottery has had a positive affect on people asking for receipts.

The Business Times, Network House, Vjal ir-Rihan San Gwann SGN 07
Tel: (356) 382741-3, 382745-6 | Fax: (356) 385075 | e-mail: editorial@networkpublications.com.mt