Dr Mark Assibey-Yeboah, Chairman of Parliament’s Finance Committee has dismissed claims that the approved $3.2 million tax waiver on the importation of the mathematical sets is a loss of income to the State.
According to the New Juaben South lawmaker, the tax waiver is rather to reduce the cost of the items since the supplier would add the tax amount to the final purchase cost.
The Minority in Parliament questioned the cost of mathematical sets after Parliament 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).
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.
But speaking on Eyewitness News, Dr Mark Assibey-Yeboah said the government will not be making any losses in the procurement of the math sets.
“If we had not provided the tax waivers, it would still be added to the cost of the mathematical instruments. It is like taking something with your left arm and giving it to the right. So, either government goes ahead to give the supplier the tax waiver or it is added to the cost, so the tax waiver picture is neither here nor there. The tax waiver will not bring any income loss to the state because if we had not granted the waiver, we would have had to pay for it in the cost of the products. So, instead of paying $12 million as we are doing in the current circumstances, he will add another 3.2 to make it $15.2 million and that would have been the cost of it.”
The Scientific Mathematical Instruments (SMI) is to be procured and supplied by Messrs Bluegrass Group Limited for use in examinations conducted by the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) in Ghana.
According to the chairman of the finance committee, the instruments are to help eliminate examination malpractices which had been aided especially by use of mathematical sets and calculators in examination halls by candidates in all WAEC examinations.
“The West African Examination Council (WAEC) has had challenges with exam malpractices over the years, this malice seems to have persisted. In fact, our sister country, Nigeria has employed these scientific mathematical instruments in the last four exams and member councils have met the head of WAEC and they all decided to move towards the use of these. What it means is that instead of students carrying calculators and mathematical sets into the examination hall, the WAEC itself, at the point of entry into the exam hall will supply students with these mathematical instruments and take them back after the exam.”
The agreement between Education Ministry and Messrs Bluegrass Group Limited will see the company supplying 853,009 units of the Kapek Scientific Mathematical Instruments.