End taxes on sanitary pads now – Coalition calls out to government
As Ghana joined the world in commemorating this year’s International Day of the Girl Child, the Coalition of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) against Sanitary Pads Taxation has reiterated the call for the government to scrap taxes on sanitary pads.
According to the 14-member coalition, the government’s imposition of a luxury tax of 20% and an additional 12.5% VAT on sanitary pads is “unjust and immoral.”
In a statement signed by the Coalition to mark the International Day of the Girl Child, they said, “the taxes on sanitary pads have made the product very expensive and inaccessible to many low-income households who must choose between the pads and competing needs.”
“The fact that this tax is directly targeted at females for a natural occurrence in their reproductive process they have no choice or control over makes the tax high unjust and immoral,” the Coalition added.
According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), most girls are absent from school for four days in a month and end up losing 13 learning days equivalent to every school term.
The Organisation has also noted that in an academic year of nine months, a girl loses 39 learning days, equivalent to six weeks of learning time, due to the lack of sanitary pads.
This situation, the Coalition of CSOs against Sanitary Pads Taxation has said, poses dire consequences for life outcomes for girls.
“This is why we are passionate about this issue – because any policy that discriminately pushes a section of its population into poverty has no place in an inclusive and democratic state,” the statement issued on Monday, October 11 had it.
The Coalition urged the government, saying, “Ghana can and should follow the example of Kenya, which cancelled taxes on sanitary pads as far back as 2004 and which has since been budgeting about $3million per year to distribute free sanitary pads in low-income communities.
They also indicated that since Kenya cancelled taxes on sanitary pads, countries including Rwanda and South Africa have equally scrapped such taxes, therefore, the government of Ghana should emulate them.
Recalling a pledge by the Vice President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, in August 2020 that the government would eliminate import duties on sanitary pads to improve health conditions, they called on him too, “again to add his voice to urge the Finance Ministry to remedy this injustice in the forthcoming 2022 budget.”
International Day of the Girl Child
The International Day of the Girl Child, marked on October 11 every year, is used to recognise girls’ rights and the unique challenges girls face around the world.
It also focuses attention on the need to address the challenges girls face and to promote girls’ empowerment and the fulfilment of their human rights.
This year, the observation of the Day is on the theme, “Digital generation, Our Generation,” with a call on the world, especially developing countries to ensure that girls could reap the benefits of the technological revolution.
Members of the Coalition
The 14-member Coalition against Sanitary Pads Taxation includes the Ghana Anti-Corruption Coalition (GACC), Revenue Mobilisation Africa (RMA), Africa Education Watch, Renel Ghana, Muslim Family Counselling Services, and Sung Foundation.
Others are the Greater Accra Youth Network, Alliance of Feminine CSOs, Girls Not Bride Ghana, Global Media Foundation, Africa Civil Society Alliance on Child Rights, Centre for Youth Analysis, Ghana Education Forum, and the Ghana Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Coalition.