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.
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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.
In recent times, stakeholders in the education in the West African Examinations Council member countries including are deeply concerned about the rising waves of malpractices in public examinations and have constantly called on educational institutions and examining bodies to find solutions to the malaise.
The Ministry of Education in conjunction with the West African Examinations Council had discussions with the Chief Government Nominees of member countries concerning the menace and agreed that candidates are required to use only customized WAEC mathematical sets.
In addition to an outright ban on wristwatches in the examinational halls with effect from 2020 examinations.