Home » Ghanaian MP Pushes for Tax-Free Sanitary Pads to End Period Poverty

Ghanaian MP Pushes for Tax-Free Sanitary Pads to End Period Poverty

by Victor Adetimilehin

Ghanian MP, Francis-Xavier Sosu, has introduced a bill to promote tax free sanitary pads. The bill hopes to remove the 15% Value Added Tax (VAT) and the 20% import tax on menstrual hygiene products. The bill aims to make sanitary pads and tampons more affordable and accessible for women and girls, especially those in low-income households.

According to the bill’s memorandum, many women and girls in Ghana face challenges in managing their menstruation, which can have negative impacts on their health, education, and dignity. The bill cites global statistics that show that about 500 million people lack access to menstrual hygiene products, leading to period poverty. Period poverty is the inability to afford menstrual products and the increased economic vulnerability menstruating people face due to the financial burden posed by menstrual supplies.

The bill argues that imposing taxes on sanitary pads, which are essential for menstrual hygiene management, is unfair, discriminatory, and violates both national and international laws and treaties that protect the rights of women and girls. The bill also points out that several countries, such as Kenya, Canada, Australia, India, and Scotland, have taken measures to remove or reduce taxes on menstrual products or provide them for free.

The Tax free sanitary pad bill has received support from the Speaker of Parliament, Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin, who expressed his displeasure at the taxation of sanitary pads in June this year. He described it as “unconscionable and a cardinal sin” and urged the government and the minister responsible to take immediate action to scrap the tax.

The bill also aligns with the promise made by the Vice President, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, during the 2020 general elections, to remove import duties on sanitary pads if the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) was re-elected. However, the government has not yet implemented this policy.

The bill is expected to go through the necessary processes and stages in Parliament before it can be passed into law. If successful, the bill will contribute to the elimination of period poverty in Ghana and improve the wellbeing of millions of women and girls.

Source: Graphic Online

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