The need for Tax exemption on research materials, equipment to pave way for development

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Professor Firibu Kwesi Saalia, Food Scientist, University of Ghana, says the government needs to waive taxes on materials and equipment meant for conducting research by academia.

He said such a step would encourage scientists to conduct more research and studies to address everyday issues for economic growth.

Prof. Saalia said this in Accra on the sidelines of a focused group discussion event organised by Africa Technology Policy Studies (ATPS) Network to strengthen the research funding agencies for West Africa.

The event was funded by the International Development Research Centre, a Canadian federal Crown corporation.

The ATPS in partnership with the African University of Science and Technology (AUST) is conducting a study on, “Strengthening the National Research and Innovation Funding Agencies in West Africa (SRIFA)”.

The study aims to strengthen the Agencies where they already exist to efficiently deliver on their mandates and support the development of institutional frameworks and mechanisms for establishing new research funding agencies where they do not exist.

Prof. Saalia said the tax components imposed on research materials and equipment were high and that took a chunk of research grants leaving a small fraction for the real work.

“When you go to the harbour, most of us have our equipment locked there simply because of higher tax rates, which is a worry to us and the students who also need them for studies as well,” he stated.

He said Ghana had “brilliant” Scientists dedicated and motivated to work, but the environment needed more improvements in terms of acquisition of equipment and materials to make research easier and faster.

Mr Frederick Amu-Mensah, National Chapter Coordinator, ATPS, said research and development in West Africa, especially Ghana needed to be strengthened especially with the manifestation of the climate crisis.

He said research was the core of development, and that without research, there would be no improvements in most fields in the country, hence the need to secure the necessary funding to drive research to create jobs and development.

Mr Cephas Adjei Mensah, Director, Research, Statistics and Information Management, Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, said the Ministry would open a call for proposal for researchers to be funded.

He said through the International Development Research Corporation, Canada, an amount of CAD$608,000 had been devoted as grant for scientists to undertake research in areas, including gender equality and inclusivity.

He urged early career researchers particularly, to take advantage of the grant and apply, to aid them in their research works.

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