WINDHOEK - Women’s Action for Development (WAD) executive director Salatiel Shinedima feels that Treasury must seriously consider the exemption of sanitary products from value added tax (VAT).
The WAD executive director explained that women’s sanitary pads and other items, if considered for VAT zero, would help needy women sail through the difficult economic situation the country is currently facing.
Shinedima made these remarks during the WAD graduation ceremony in Omaheke on Thursday morning.
He said women-specific items that should be considered for VAT-zero rating are sanitary pads and other sanitary products, baby diapers and baby formula, while basic food items proposed for VAT exemption are cooking oil, bread flour, cake flour and fish specifically, maasbanker/horse mackerel.
He made it clear that apart from school-going children who should get sanitary pads free there is a category of women who may not be in a financial position to be able to afford to buy pads, formula for babies and diapers.
Shinedima said the said category constitutes, school dropouts, unemployed young women and others.
“We call upon Treasury to help ease the situation by exempting those sanitary products and also basic food items from VAT to provide much relief to low-income households who spend a relatively high proportion of their income on food and sanitary products,” pleaded the WAD executive.
“Therefore, we recognise access to sanitary products such as those mentioned above as a basic human right for women because they cannot live without it,” added Shinedima.
He said it’s WAD proposal that for the country to fulfil the critical right of women it should make sanitary pads or products accessible to all women.
The Minister of Gender Equality and Child Welfare, Doreen Sioka, revealed a few weeks ago that more than 80 percent of rural girls do not have access to improved sanitary services.
“WAD fully and strongly supports the campaign to provide free sanitary pads to needy school-going girls, and we are calling upon the private sector to join this campaign and make sure that menstruation is not an obstacle to acquiring education. I understand that there are some business entities that are currently active in providing free sanitary pads to some schools, but we want more partners to come on board, especially deep in rural areas where access, stigma and misinformation are huge challenges which undermine the well-being of women,” stated the WAD executive.
In addition, the involvement in that campaign should go beyond providing free pads but should go as far as ensuring access to safe sanitary facilities at schools, provide menstrual hygiene management education, as well as demystify discriminatory cultural norms and beliefs about menstruation.
2019-04-01 08:50:44 2 months ago