CSOs call on Ghana government to scrap taxes on sanitary pads
The Ghana Civil Society Organisation (CSOs) platform on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) has appealed to government to remove taxes on sanitary pads to enhance menstrual hygiene and quality of life for all women in Ghana, especially young girls in schools.
This would eliminate school absenteeism associated with the inability to afford sanitary pads among schoolgirls.
According to UNESCO, most girls are absent from school for four days in a month and end up losing 13 learning days equivalent in every school term.
In an academic year of nine months, a girl may lose 39 learning days equivalent to six weeks of learning time due to the lack of sanitary pads.
This situation has dire consequences for life outcomes for girls, this is why it is important for government to expedite the removal of taxes on sanitary pads for easy access and boost self-confidence of women and girls.
The call was made at a press conference on CSOs position on removal of taxes on sanitary pads in Accra.
Mr Archibald Adams, Member of CSOs Platform, said government should scrap the 35 per cent tax which is made up of 20 per cent import tax and 15 per cent value added tax to ease the cost of sanitary pads for women.
He said the government should provide budget allocation for Metropolitan Municipal Districts Assemblies (MMDAs) to provide WASH facilities to ensure both boys and girls practice good hygiene.
“Government must increase political priority and ignite action for menstrual health and hygiene so that women and girls feel confident, comfortable, and free of any shame.
“Policies that eliminate period poverty, especially for low-income women and girls who struggle to afford menstrual products and have limited access to water and sanitation services, must be expedited”, he said.
Mr Adams said government must reduce taxes on local materials for local manufacturing of sanitary products just like how Nigeria, Rwanda and Sierra Leone are practicing making sanitary pads a basic and an easy-get for girls.
Therefore, there was the need for the Ministry of Finance and the government to scrap the import tax on sanitary pads and reclassify the product as ‘essential social goods’ which is Zero rated.
He said they had already engaged the relevant committees, particularly the committee of Finance, Health, and Gender on the subject.
He urged the media to encourage open dialogue on menstruation as it was a great way to break period stigma and teach young girls on how to stay healthy and hygienic during menstruation.