Chairman of the Finance Committee in Parliament has justified the need for government to grant Bluegrass Company a tax waiver amounting to $3.2m for their role as importers and distributors of the scientific mathematical instruments for final year senior high school students in their upcoming examinations.

According to Dr Mark Assibey-Yeboah, the tax waiver was a strategic move by government to make the scientific mathematical instruments affordable.

The Minority in parliament had opposed the tax waiver for Bluegrass Company for the importation of the scientific mathematical instruments.

They had cited the high cost of the instruments, which are valued at ¢75 each, and the sole sourcing of the instruments from a foreign company without the participation of local businesses.

The Majority caucus in parliament on the other hand had argued that the procurement of these scientific mathematical instruments were necessary to eliminate examination malpractices, and had been recommended by the West African Examination Council.

Speaking on JoyNews’ PM Express, Mark Assibey-Yeboah stated that the tax waiver was necessary to keep the price of the instruments as low as possible, stating that, if the government had not done so, it would have translated to more costs for government.

“As part of the agreement, they’re saying that the private vendor should be exempted from taxes; if I’m the private vendor and you don’t exempt me from taxes, I’ll just add it on to the cost. So that 3.2 million dollars we are talking about, if we don’t exempt the private vendor, these are duties they have to pay at the port.

“If you don’t exempt him, he’ll just add it to the cost. So it was a decision for the government to make; do I exempt the taxes or that 75 cedis now goes to a hundred cedis or thereabout? And WAEC, they charge for their exams, so if government doesn’t support them, they would just add it to the cost of examinations for students,” he explained, July 21.

This comes in the wake of criticism against the government over what some describe as too many tax waivers granted companies at a time when revenues are dwindling mostly at the mercies at the novel coronavirus.