Parliament has approved the waiver of taxes and duties amounting to $3.2 million for M/S Bluegrass Group Limited to supply Kapek scientific mathematical instruments for use in the 2020 West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE).
The waiver will allow the entity to enjoy tax rebates on import duty, National Health Insurance Levy (NHIL) import, GETFund import, Value Added Tax (VAT) import, EXIM levy and special levy on the instruments.
This will enable the government to distribute 853,009 units of the devices, comprising mathematical sets and scientific calculators, to all SHS students, while the West African Examination Council (WAEC) will keep the rest to facilitate the conduct of the examination.
The request for the waiver was presented to the House on June 23, 2020 by a Deputy Minister of Finance, Mrs Abena Osei-Asare, on behalf of the Minister of Finance, and the Speaker referred it to the Finance Committee for consideration and report.
The approval came after the Chairman of the Finance Committee, Dr Mark Assibey-Yeboah, had presented the committee’s report for the House to adopt and approve the request.
Justification for waiver
Presenting the report, Dr Assibey-Yeboah said there had been an increase in malpractice in public examinations, especially WAEC examinations in the country, as students had resorted to cheating and other forms of examination malpractice.
He said in order to address the menace, WAEC had resolved to supply students with prescribed mathematical sets, scientific calculators and time kits.
“This is to prevent students from entering examination centres with foreign materials and unauthorised gadgets/instruments.
“The committee was informed that this policy is being used by Nigeria WAEC and it has helped to reduce examination malpractice in that country,” he said.
He told the House that it was in furtherance of that collective decision that the Ministry of Education entered into an agreement with Messrs Bluegrass Group to supply 853,009 units of Kapek scientific mathematical instruments, at a unit cost of GHc75, to the Ghana WAEC to assist it conduct examinations.
The New Juaben South Member of Parliament said the supply of the devices would help combat examination malpractice perpetrated especially by the use of mathematical sets and calculators by candidates in examination halls, improve rating of the certificates issued by the examining body, boost confidence in Ghana’s educational system, among others.
He informed the House that since the devices would be used in the upcoming WASSCE, the Ministry of Education would distribute them to schools ahead of time to enable them to get acquainted with the devices.
“The committee was assured that the instruments are not complicated and it is expected that every examinee will be able to use them without difficulty,” he assured the House.
Another approved waiver of taxes
Meanwhile, Parliament has also approved a tax waiver of 4.91 million South African Rand on equipment, tools and hardware in respect of the Ghana Radio Astronomy Project and Colocation of the satellite earth observation ground receiving station at Kuntunse for the Ghana Space Science and Technology Institution.
The project, when completed, will be used chiefly to train students in Astronomy, Astrophysics, Cosmology and Space Science.