The Ghana CSO Platform on SDGs, comprised of 112 civil society organisations, has petitioned the Speaker of Parliament, the Minister of Finance, the Minister of Gender, Children, and Social Protection, and the Minister of Health to remove taxes from sanitary pads.
According to the CSOs, sanitary pads are classified as ‘Miscellaneous Manufactured Articles’ under the Harmonised System Code 9619, which attracts a slew of taxes, including 20% import duty, 13% import VAT, NHIL 2.5%, and other levies and service charges.
The CSOs argue that the cost of these materials for poor households, of which women make up roughly 60%, further disadvantages them by preventing them from purchasing a basic product such as a sanitary pad.
They are concerned that women and girls face stigma, discrimination, and period poverty as a result of a lack of accessibility, affordability, and availability.
CSOs believe that any policy that discriminates against a segment of the population and drives them deeper into poverty has no place in an inclusive and democratic environment.
”Therefore, the imposition of taxes on sanitary pads directly targeted at females makes the tax highly discriminatory, unjust, and immoral.”
The CSOs urged the government, including the Parliament, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Finance, and the Ministry of Gender, Children, and Social Protection, to take immediate action to scrap the sanitary pad tax and reclassify the products as ‘Essential medical necessities,’ with a zero (0) tax rating.