‘Scrap taxes on sanitary pads to make them affordable’

A total of 48 non-govern­mental organisations and civil society organisa­tions (CSOs) have called on the government to scrap the 20 per cent luxury tax and the 15 per cent Value Added Tax on Sanitary Pads to make them affordable.

The removal of the taxes would lead to the elimination of period poverty in Ghana.

The call was contained in a petition to the government and copied to the Ghanaian Times by the National Coordinator, Plat­form on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Ms Levlyn Asiedu Konadu.

“The Government of Ghana, under the Harmonised System Code 9619001000, classifies san­itary pads as Miscellaneous Man­ufactured Articles which attract a myriad of taxes including a 20 per cent import duty, a 15 per cent Import VAT and other import levies,” she explained.

In light of that, she stated that under the current tax regime, taxes were imposed on a biological ne­cessity over which women had no control; thereby making sanitary pads unaffordable and inacces­sible, especially to low-income households.

She said that many adolescent girls and women in Ghana expe­rienced significant lack of access to clean and affordable menstrual products as well as information and knowledge about basic men­strual hygiene practices.

“It is worth noting that succes­sive governments have recognised the scathing implications of the high cost of sanitary pads on the health and dignity of women and made several promises towards making sanitary pads more af­fordable and accessible however, these commitments have not been translated into concrete actions,” she said.

She appealed to the Vice Presi­dent, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, to fulfil the government’s promise made during the manifesto launch in Cape Coast ahead of the 2020 election.

She noted that if the tax on sanitary pads were scrapped, it would allow the country to achieve some of its SGS such as “Goal 3, Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages and Goal 5, Achieve gender equali­ty and empower all women and girls.”

“We, the organisations, take the view that any policy that discrim­inates against a section of its population and pushes them into further poverty has no place in an inclusive and democratic environ­ment,” she added.

The petitioners include the Cen­tre for Democratic Development, ABAK Foundation Ghana, Ado­lescents Youth and Health Inter­national (AYHI), African Institute for Population and Development, Alliance for Reproductive Health Rights, CARE International Gha­na, CareLove Charity Foundation, Celdar Foundation, CENSODEV, and Centre for Community Stud­ies Action and Development.


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