June 13, 2024
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Remove import tax on sanitary pads – Savana Signatures reacts to AGI’s position

Savana Signatures, a non-governmental organisation, has responded to the statement issued by the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI) regarding the removal of the 20 percent import tax on sanitary pads in Ghana.

While AGI expressed concerns about the potential negative impact on local businesses and job losses, Savana Signatures believes that there is a stronger case for removing the import tax on sanitary pads.

According to Savana Signatures, menstrual products in Ghana are classified as finished goods or final consumer goods and are subjected to a 20 percent import duty along with an additional 15 percent value-added tax (VAT). These taxes contribute to the unaffordability and inaccessibility of sanitary pads, particularly for low-income households. As a result, many adolescent girls and low-income women in Ghana face period poverty, where they cannot afford essential menstrual products.

The organisation argues that the high import tax and VAT on sanitary pads exacerbate the situation of period poverty in Ghana. On average, girls and women spend between 30 to 40 cedis monthly on menstrual products, an amount that many, especially the vulnerable and those in rural areas with low incomes, cannot afford.

The NGO argues that the consequences of unaffordable sanitary pads are significant, particularly for young girls. It said Inadequate access to affordable pads leads to frequent absenteeism and, in some cases, school dropout. Girls who cannot afford sanitary pads often choose to stay home during their menstruation days, resulting in missed school days.

This disruption to their education can have long-term consequences on their academic performance and future opportunities. Moreover, the lack of affordable menstrual products leads some girls in rural areas to use unhygienic alternatives like rags and old clothes, which can cause poor menstrual hygiene, infections, and reproductive health problems.

As an organisation dedicated to the well-being of vulnerable populations, especially women and girls, Savana Signatures believes that it is crucial to address the affordability of sanitary pads.

It notes that by eliminating taxes on imported sanitary pads, their prices can be significantly reduced, ensuring greater accessibility and affordability for a larger portion of the population. This, in turn, will contribute to the overall health and hygiene of young women and promote a healthier society.

The organisation finds it unfortunate that the AGI’s statement seems to support maintaining the tax on sanitary pads. Savana Signatures emphasises that the AGI’s argument against the removal of taxes on imported sanitary products is unconvincing.

They highlight that Ghana operates in a free trade market and should not hinder the import sector as the presence of imported sanitary pads offers a wider range of options for consumers, drives innovation, and improves the quality of locally manufactured products. Instead of protecting a few local manufacturers at the expense of consumer welfare, the organization believes in encouraging healthy competition and providing consumers with diverse choices.

Savana Signatures proposes a balanced approach by removing taxes on imported sanitary products while incentivizing local manufacturers. This they noted would ensure competitiveness in the market and help lower the cost of sanitary products, especially for women in remote areas.

The organisation urges prioritising the well-being of women and girls by ensuring their access to affordable and high-quality sanitary products, regardless of whether they are produced locally or imported.

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