2024 Budget: Tax-free sanitary pads-a step in right direction

Some non-governmental organisations have lauded the Government’s plans to waive taxes on locally produced sanitary pads and import duties on raw materials for its local production.

Mr Ken Ofori-Atta, the Finance Minister, announced the waivers on Wednesday, November 15 when he presented the 2024 Budget Statement to Parliament.

The waivers are part of the Government’s effort to bring economic relief to citizens and lessen their plight.

The response comes after several groups, organisations and individuals made calls on the government to scrap the tax.

Ms Vera Elikem Awuye, Team Lead for Gender, International Needs Ghana, said the plan was in the right direction.

‘The fact that this issue has gained the attention of government means that all our efforts have not been in vain.’ Ms Awuye told the Ghana News Agency in an interview.

‘I hope that it is not just going to be a talkshow but that the government is really committed to implementing it,’ she added.

Ms Awuye noted that implementing the plan would ma
ke sanitary pads affordable which would help reduce period poverty among girls.

She said it would also reduce transactional sex, a situation where girls had to depend on other people to purchase basic sanitary materials but end up being abused and exploited by such people.

She said reducing transactional sex would significantly reduce adolescent pregnancies.

Ms Awuye noted that, with about 51 per cent of Ghana’s population being females, and a large portion of them menstruating, there was a huge market for sanitary pads, adding that, Ghanaians needed to leverage it to build the local economy.

‘Let’s open up the market so we have more manufacturers producing the sanitary pads locally, instead of importing them. It will create jobs for more people in the country,’ she said.

Mr Awal Ahmed Kariama, Executive Director, RISE – Ghana, described the Government’s plan as ‘a significant progress.’

Aside from sanitary pads becoming more affordable for the final consumer, he noted that when implemented properly, it
would boost local manufacturing of sanitary pads.

‘Once we have more people getting into the industry, then the competition is likely to further bring down the prices,’ he explained.

Mr Kariama said beyond the tax waivers, other measures should be put in place to create a more enabling environment for local producers.

He cautioned the Government to be more vigilant regarding the implementation of the import duty waivers.

He said this was critical because at times, some tax waivers led to illicit trade, where people imported materials under the guise of using it in the country but ended up in other countries.

‘There should be proper regulation to ensure that people do not abuse it-so as to prevent a situation where importers make money whilst the consumer continues to suffer.’ Mr Kariama said.

‘This is a very delicate balance that needs to be done well,’ he noted.

Source: Ghana News Agency