Inspire Today Foundation, an NGO based in Ghana known for its key interest in advocating for clean and hygienic menstrual practice, has welcomed governments intension to review taxes on sanitary pads.
Finance minister, Ken Ofori Atta in presenting the 2024 budget statement on Wednesday November 15,2023 intimated that government had prioritize removing taxes on locally produced sanitary pads.
According to him government has decided to categorize VAT on locally produced sanitary pads into the zero rate zone. This when implemented will mean that for manufacturers of locally produced sanitary pads, there will be no need to pay the 15% VAT.
Also, for local manufacturers of sanitary pads, government intends to grant import duty waivers for the raw materials imported to manufacture local sanitary pad.
This according to Inspire Today, if implemented, will be of great relief to young menstruating girls who are unable to afford the sanitary pads due to the huge taxes slapped on them.
The executive director for Inspire Today Etornam Sey explains that “This is good news for local producers of sanitary pads as there will be no need to pay the 15% VAT making the locally-produced sanitary pads cheaper and more affordable for the poor and vulnerable. Over the past 5 years, Inspire Today has supported over 40,000 menstruating girls in selected deprived communities in Ghana with sanitary towels as a measure to tackle period poverty. As an NGO, we expend about 85% of our resources on sanitary towels. This has become increasingly expensive to sustain due to the rising cost of sanitary towels.”
The NGO is meanwhile impressing on government to reclassify imported sanitary pads into zero-rated essential goods. This according to its Executive Director has become necessary as more than 90 per cent of the sanitary pads used in Ghana are imported.
“As we encourage local production of sanitary pads, producing enough to meet local demand may seem a long term goal therefore; an interim measure to take off the taxes on imported sanitary pads will make it easy for the young girls who through no fault of theirs are unable to afford the imported sanitary pads”. He explained
Menstrual hygiene advocates have said that failure to address the menstrual hygiene needs of women and girls could have far-reaching consequences for basic hygiene, sanitation and reproductive health, ultimately affecting the country’s progress towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
Inspire Today is working towards meeting Goals 3(improve good health and wellbeing) and 5 (promote gender equality) as it believes that every girl irrespective of their geographical location or economic background deserves dignified menstruation.