Parliament approves $3.2M tax waiver for procurement of ‘math sets’

Parliament has approved a tax waiver of $3.2 million for the supply of KAPEK scientific mathematical instruments to be procured for use in the upcoming West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE).

According to a report of the Finance Committee of Parliament, WAEC has resolved to supply students with the instruments that will reduce the incidence of examination malpractice.

Dr. Mark Assibey Yeboah, the Chairman of the Finance Committee in laying the report said, “The Minister of Education sort approval to use single source tendering method for the supply of KAPEK scientific mathematical instruments. In order to successfully import the equipment, there is a need to waive taxes and duties applicable. It is in this regard that the request for waiver of taxes and duties has been submitted to Parliament for approval in accordance with Article 174 of the 1992 constitution.”

“Again the request is to seek approval for the waiver of taxes amounts to the Ghana cedis equivalent of 3,214,538 on KAPEK scientific mathematical instruments supply to the Ghana West African Examination Council for use during the examination. The Committee observed that the supply of mathematical sets will help to combat examinations malpractice perpetuated especially by use of mathematical sets, calculator in examination halls by candidates and it will also provide free in-one functionality which comes in cheaper than acquiring them individually and also help improve the rating of the certificate issued.”

But the Member of Parliament for North Tongu, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa said the government should have considered better value for money analysis before approving the tax waiver.

“Nakaraj Mathematical instruments are GHS12 and that’s the most expensive one. This is GHS75. So what really went into this. We are told that it comes with some calculator and some other features. The report says that it is a scientific mathematical instrument with a calculator attached. The matter that we need to avert our minds to is value for money because if you attach a calculator to this, we are sure if you add a calculator to this package for GHS75, is it really value for money? And also it wasn’t clear if it was a competitive tender,” Ablakwa said.

Government to absorb WASSCE fees of candidates

The president, Nana Akufo-Addo announced earlier that the government will absorb the full examination fees of all students sitting for the 2020 WASSCE

Delivering a televised address to update the country on the fight against COVID-19, President Akufo-Addo indicated that a total of 318,837 students will benefit from the intervention which the government has estimated to cost GHS 75.4 million.

“For the first time in our nation’s history, Government will absorb the WASSCE examination fees of the 313,837 SHS 3 students who will sit for the exam. GH¢75.4 million will be spent on this. These SHS 3 students, also referred to by some as the ‘Akufo-Addo graduates’, are the first group of beneficiaries of Government’s Free Senior High School policy to sit the WASSCE exams,” Akufo-Addo said.

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