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South Sudan urged to exempt sanitary pads from taxation

The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has called on the South Sudan government to make sanitary pads affordable for women and girls.

 Ademola Olajide, the country representative for UNFPA, said during the opening of the workshop on menstrual hygiene at Palm Africa hotel, that the ministry of finance needs to exempt sanitary pads from taxation to make them affordable for school- going girls.

“The ministry of finance must remove taxation and heavy import on menstrual hygiene products, as a society if we intend to achieve objectives that we have set, we must begin to commit ourselves to make monthly menstrual period safe with dignity and with hygiene,” Olajide said.

He called on the ministry of health and other concerned line ministries to have a policy in place that ensures that young girls are particularly able to access sanitary products.

“Whatever programs we put in place during pandemic or humanitarian situation must incorporate those that help us manage monthly period,” Olajide said.

Emmanuela Dwatuka, the executive director for African Youth and Adolescent Network (AfriYan), said that so many girls who cannot afford sanitary pads are suffering immensely.

She said that it should be joint responsibility for people from different aspects of life to talk about menstruation, and priotize it into strategic plan.

Hamida Lasseko, the country representative for United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), said development partners and the government need to be committed to take up responsibility particularly of young women and girls.

“There are many other factors that make our children to drop out of school; it is not only to advocate on issues around taboos but also to bring commitment particularly to our key partners the government who are primarily responsible for young people,” Lasseko said.

She called for tax exemption on sanitary products.

“The best sustainable way is to have durable solution on how the girls will keep maintaining hygiene by having products which are user friendly,” Lasseko said.

At least 2.8 million children mostly girls are out of school due to floods, early and forced marriages, according to UNICEF.

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