Govt hailed for scrapping VAT on sanitary pads

05Jul 2018
Friday Simbaya
The Guardian
Govt hailed for scrapping VAT on sanitary pads

A cross-section of health stakeholders and women and girls activists have lauded the government’s move to scrap off value added tax (VAT) on sanitary towels, saying it will help maintain girls in school throughout the year.

pads

Suzan Yumbe, director of Afya Plus—a non-governmental organization based in Iringa said that most girls and women come from low and middle income families that cannot afford purchasing sanitary towels.

She said that the removing of VAT on sanitary pads will make the products accessible to girls and women hence improve hygiene.

The abolition of the tax was announced by parliament on June 14, 2018 by the Minister of Finance and Planning, Philip Mpango, as he read the Government Budget of 2018/19.

"It is the Government's expectation that producers and sellers of female towels will avail them cheaply after the removal of this tax," she said.

Yumbe said that this year's celebrations will be in line with the slogan 'There are no more obstacles to women and girls getting safe menstruation, so the organization has a strategy to enable girls to get special sanitary pads that can be  reused safely and enable the girls to attend lessons.

Education Centre for the Advancement of Women (ECAW )  Tanzania executive Director Angellah Bhoke commended the government for the move saying it will go a long way in improving girls’ hygienic conditions as well as maintaining them in schools.

“Women and children tend to be most affected by this lack of hygiene. Researchers have pointed out that many reproductive infections are potentially triggered by poor menstrual hygiene management. These diseases can, if left unchecked, make women more vulnerable to complications in pregnancy and childbirth” Said Bhoke.

Critics have argued that the issue of menstrual hygiene has been neglected with people considering it a taboo to discuss menstruation openly.

However, menstrual hygiene is gaining growing attention as a crucial aspect to achieving improved child health, education retention and gender equality.