Exempt taxes on sanitary pads
By John Agok
Over fifteen concerned youth organizations including influential youth from Public Universities led by Okay Africa Foundation yesterday petitioned the government’s line ministries through the Ministry of Gender, Child and Social Welfare, with a detailed petition that seek alternative measures to lower or totally wipe out taxes levied on sanitary pads.
The petition was the follow upon the commitment which the government pledged to implement after attending the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) in Nairobi 2019.
In the Summit, theGovernment of South Sudan agreed to commit itself to the overall goal of zero harmful practices including child marriage and to provide free sanitary pads to all eligible girls from Primary and Secondary Schools in both rural and urban areas by 2025 in a bid to improve menstrual hygiene and ensure school retention for girls. The Government also promised to make tax exemptions on sanitary pads manufactured or imported into the Country in order to make them affordable to girls from low income households.
The Ministry of Gender, Child and Social Welfare was leading the commitment during the Summit in Nairobi. Ayaa Benjamin Warille made a positive comment after receiving the document and assured readiness of the government to quickly respond to it.
“Thank you very much “concerned youth” I am very happy to receive your petition and your points are genuine since it is a follow up on commitments the government made. We are taking it from here and I assure you that, action will be taken”, she said.
Buni Joel from Okay Africa Foundation revealed that, Okay Africa and the Ministry of Gender have taken the lead in bringing to attention of the government and other line ministries that includes Ministry of Finance and Planning to consider the petition that will “ Ensure Healthy Life and Promote Well-being for All, at all ages” as per the Sustainable Development Goal number 3.
“We are taking the lead together withthe Ministry of Gender, Child and Social Welfare in reminding the Technical Committee about the Commitment pledged by the Government in Nairobi 2019. ”, he said.
Catherine Iliwa a student from the University of Juba decried lack of access to sanitary pads which resulted to drop out of many girls from schools. This is due to low income households who cannot afford to buy sanitary pads .
The Government of the Republic of South Sudan commits itself to mobilize the required financing to finish the ICPD Programme of Action and Sustainable Development Goals.