Finance and Economic Development Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube yesterday suspended customs duty on sanitary wear for the next one year.
Presenting the 2019 National Budget in Parliament, Prof Ncube said this was meant to cushion underprivileged women and girls in the interim, while the local supply of sanitary wear improves
I propose to suspend customs duty for sanitary wear for a period of 12 months beginning December 1, 2018. I also propose to exempt imports of sanitary wear fromValue Added Tax,’ said Prof Ncube.
He also suspended duty on goods used by physically challenged people in line with the United Nations Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities (UNCRPD) of 2008
I propose to suspend customs duty on goods used by physically challenged persons. This promotes decent and dignified lives for such persons to achieve their full potential. Such goods include wheel chairs, talking calculators, mobility white canes and contact lenses.
“Government has already provided duty free importation of sunscreen lotions, hearing aids, Braille computers and embossers as well as VAT zero wheel chairs, literature products, Braille watches among other goods,” said Prof Ncube.
Parliamentarians and various organisations have been running campaigns aimed at advocating for health and wellness particularly access to sanitary wear.
The campaigns call for standardised, affordable prices for sanitary wear, pushing for a mandatory sustainable sanitary wear budget in every Government institution and public spaces, free sanitary wear in schools and also pushing organisations like the United Nations to prioritise girls and young women’s health and wellness.
These campaigns have revealed that many young girls miss school during their menstrual periods, while others are subjected to sexual harassment and abuse as a result of lack of access to sanitary wear, which makes them eventually drop out of school.
Chairperson of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Women Affairs and Youth, Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga is on record as saying the health needs of girls should be prioritised by Government.
Source: The Chronicle