On Thursday, a group of protestors stormed the parliament in Ghana, demanding that sanitary pad taxes be removed. Protesters said that the government of Ghana should remove the 20% import tax and 12.5% Value Added Tax (VAT) on sanitary pads.
Import tax and VAT have made sanitary pads expensive in the country. According to the protesters, girls in rural areas are unable to go to school during menstruation. Campaigners have also alleged that the high cost of pads has created hygiene issues for girls in rural areas.
However, the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI), a not-for-profit organization with over 1200 members registered in Ghana, has warned the government not to scrap the taxes on sanitary pads. The Association said that the removal of taxes on imported pads would make it difficult for local manufacturers to compete in the market.
The Ghana Revenue Authority, the Ghanaian administration charged with the task of accounting for tax revenue in Ghana, has said that menstrual hygiene products, including pads, are considered finished goods and subject to import duty.
In recent months, protests have erupted in Ghana, urging the government to remove the taxes on imported pads. People urged the government to make pads affordable for younger girls in rural areas.
The AGI has warned the government of Ghana against eliminating taxes on imported sanitary pads while ignoring domestic manufacturers in the country. The AGI further warned that such decisions could affect the economy of the country.
Seth Twum-Akwaboah, the CEO of the Association, signed a statement to urge the government not to remove duties on imported sanitary pads. Instead of offering tax breaks to imports, the association claimed that the government of Ghana should provide the necessary incentives and support to enable indigenous firms to fulfill domestic demand in the country.