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Gov’t Urged to Scrap 20% Import Tax on Sanitary Pads

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A child-centred research and advocacy-based NGO, J Initiative (JI), has made a clarion call on government to remove the 20% import tax on sanitary towels.

This, according to them, will make this vital product available and affordable for all girls, despite their socio-economic backgrounds.

Presently, 20% tax levy is charged on imported sanitary towels because sanitary pads are categorized as luxury products at the Ghana Revenue Authority guidelines.

But JI says sanitary pads are not luxury but rather a “necessity to a woman’s livelihood, engagement, and participation in society.”

In a statement issued by the NGO to mark the International Day of the Girl Child, the high cost of sanitary pads has gone a long way to negatively affect the education of girls who cannot afford.

“Some girls, especially those in rural areas and from economically disadvantaged backgrounds resort to using absorbents such as dirty rags, cotton wool, leaves, and paper.

“Aside from the fact that the neatness of these absorbents cannot be guaranteed and could cause diseases and infections to girls, most often they leak and soil their uniforms. The embarrassment girls face as a result of soiling their uniforms during their periods causes them to miss school,” the statement read.

It continued: “Research carried out in Ghana and Kenya revealed that interventions providing sanitary pads and education, or materials and education for girls to make their own pads, improve school attendance. Kenya has gone ahead to provide free sanitary towels for girls to encourage school attendance during their periods and remove menstruation as a barrier to their girl-child education. One may ask; will Ghana go ahead to do same?”

For JI, it is the right of every girl to have access to menstruation supplies adding that some organizations in Ghana had resorted to pad donations to girls; especially those in deprived societies as a way to encourage girls’ attendance and participation in school activities during their menses.

Other barriers to the education of girls according to JI include, the lack of female teachers, sanitation and hygiene facilities as well as gender-based violence.

Girl Child Day

Yesterday was globally observed as the International Day of the Girl Child under the theme: “With Her; a skilled GirlForce’’.

The focus of this year’s theme is on securing viable employment opportunities for adolescent girls set to enter the workforce within the next decade.

By: Grace Ablewor Sogbey/ ksogbey@gmail.com

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