Remove the 33.5% Tax on Imported Sanitary Pads to make It Affordable to Women: CSOs on SDGs to Ghana Government.

The CSOs Platform on Sustainable Development Goals in Ghana has called on government and the Ministry of Finance to help make sanitary products in the country affordable to women and girls by removing a combined 33.5% tax imposed on imported sanitary products.

“The Ghana CSOs Platform on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) has appealed to the government to help make sanitary products affordable to all women and girls.”

The platform adds that government must urgently remove the unpopular 20% luxury tax and the 12.5% Vat that has been imposed on sanitary Pads and reclassify the product as ‘essential social goods’ which is Zero (0) rated just as other countries have done to make the product affordable to women and girls.

“Sanitary products are currently enlisted on the chapter 96 of the Harmonised System, and that attracts a 32.5 percent tax on imported sanitary pads, which is made up of 20 % import duty and 12.5 % in Value Added Tax. The Platform urgently calls on the Ministry of Finance and the government to, as a matter of urgency, to scrap the import tax on sanitary pads and reclassify the product as ‘essential social goods’ which is Zero (0) rated.”

“The Platform reminds the government that African countries such as Kenya, Rwanda, and South Africa have removed taxes on sanitary products and so can Ghana.”

They further explained that women and young girl’s ability to care for their bodies is part of their human rights and therefore their failure to have mensural hygiene is an affront to their rights and dignity.

“The Platform notes that, “women’s and adolescent girls’ ability to care for their bodies while menstruating is an essential part of this fundamental human right. Poor menstrual health and hygiene therefore represent an affront to this right, including the right to work and go to school.
Insufficient resources to manage menstruation, such as sanitary pads and clean water, worsen
the already existing social and economic inequalities. It further undermines human dignity and attacks the confidence of girls and women”

There has been widespread calls by individuals and CSOs on government to remove a tax component which is enlisted in the chapter 96 of the Harmonised System where sanitary pads attract a 20% luxury tax in addition to 12.5% Vat tax.

These two taxes have forced importers and retailers of the product to pass the cost to consumers, making sanitary pads an expensive commodity for women and girls.

Young girls especially are the most hit as many especially those from poor homes who cannot afford the cost of a Pad which is sold between Gh15.00 and Gh20.00, to resort to the use of cloth as substitute for pads. These alternatives mostly undermine mensural hygiene.

To mark the 2023 Mensural Hygiene day which falls on 28th May, 2023, the CSOs Platform in a press release has re-echoed the call for government to take immediate steps to scrap the unpopular tax on sanitary Pads, arguing that periods are not luxury but a natural phenomenon that should not attract a luxury tax.

They have also appealed to schools and work places to ensure that girls and women can manage their periods with comfort while being productive.

“The Platform appeals to Ghanaian schools, workplaces, and public institutions to ensure that people can manage menstruation with comfort and dignity while being productive.”

This year’s Theme for the Mensural Hygiene day is “Making menstruation a normal fact of life by 2030.”

By: Simon Agana Blessing/

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