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Ghanaian NGOs, CSOs Call Out Government to Remove Taxes on Sanitary Pads to Fight Period Poverty


Removal of the taxes would lead to the elimination of period poverty in Ghana. (Photo: Path.org)

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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