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30.09.2008 Business & Finance

'Remove Import Duties On IT'

By Daily Guide

Government has been urged to waive off import duties charged on information technology (IT) equipment and materials.

It was further asked to reduce Value Added Tax (VAT) charges on IT consumables in order to encourage more investments into the sector and also make the cost of computers low and affordable to the end users.

Mrs Florence Seriki, Group Managing Director, Omatek Ventures, made the appeal during the launch of e-xpress consumer initiative, which aimed at making computer acquisition easy and affordable for Ghanaians.

The scheme which is being embarked upon by the government in partnership with Omatek Computers Ghana, is to enable civil servants, corporate executives, organisations, educational institutions and students to acquire computers within 12 to 24 months through a structured payment plan.

The initiative forms part of government's i-ADVANCE project, which is a government assisted PC programme, launched in August 2006. Since its launch two years ago, the i-ADVANCE project has helped to make available over 21,000 computers, both desktops and laptops.

Mrs Seriki said although the scheme was private sector driven, government's support had given a new meaning and momentum to it.

She urged government to do more for the sector by policy pronouncements that would encourage state institutions to patronise locally assembled computers.

Mrs Seriki expressed the hope that the collaboration between Omatek e-xpress scheme and i-advance would help to bridge the digital divide and enhance IT penetration in the country.

In a related development, Omatek has also launched its 8inches and 10inches Smartbooks positioned for the educational sector and executives respectively.

Speaking at the launch, Dr Benjamin Aggrey-Ntim, Minister of Communications, said Omatek's partnership with government was in the right direction as it would help increase the number of computers available to individuals.

 'The initiative would impact positively on education, job creation and employment, which were necessary for accelerating the country's development,' he added.

Professor Dominic Fobih, Minister of Education, Science and Sports, lauded Omatek for its efforts and said it would go a long way to revolutionalise the educational sector.

The event also marked the official unveiling of the new Omatek brand identity.

Omatek is the first completely knock down factory in Africa to produce computer casings, speakers, desktops and notebooks.


By Felix Dela Klutse