By Auxilia Katongomara
Government has removed duty on sanitary pads, a move likely to be welcomed by women as the price of basic toiletries is now beyond the reach of many.
Gender activists and legislators have over the years pleaded with Government for duty free and subsidised sanitary pads to no avail.
Speaking during yesterday’s pre-budget seminar in Bulawayo, Finance and Economic Development Minister, Professor Mthuli Ncube said it was a “done deal” and he would announce it in the forthcoming 2019 budget statement.
“The cost of sanitary pads and removing duty on it , consider it done .We will have something on the budget on this issue of sanitary pads. Consider it done; there is no debate,” said Prof Ncube.
In his presentation, chairperson of the portfolio committee on Budget, Finance and Economic development Felix Mhona had proposed a subsidy for sanitary pads.
“Honourable Speaker Sir , concerns were raised over the cost of sanitary pads which is now beyond the reach of many and it was proposed that Government subside sanitary pads and consider giving it for free to all girls of school going age,” said Mhona.
MDC-T Bulawayo legislator Ms Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga who has been advocating for the cause for years could not hide her joy at the news by the Finance Minister.
“I’m excited although it has taken us almost two decades to get to a point where Government has agreed and it is a legacy that this particular Minister will take with him for a very long time because we don’t want to negotiate duty because when he says we are doing it means we are zero rating. There is no VAT (Value Added Tax). So we are also not paying duty,” she said.
The vocal legislature who last year caused a stir when she brought a sanitary pad to Parliament and said if duty is scrapped it becomes easier for donors to distribute sanitary pads in schools. The Chronicle