The Executive Director of YONECO, MacBain Mkandawire, has commended the Malawi government for removing excise duty on sanitary pads and other essential commodities.
On Friday, 18th February 2022, the Finance and Economic Affairs Minister, Sosten Gwengwe, presented a 2022/2023 National Budget at Parliament Building in Lilongwe. The budget which has been pegged at MK 2.84 trillion saw the government making some changes on taxation.
Among others, the Minister announced that government has taken off excise duty on sanitary pads as one way of supporting general feminine hygiene.
The government expenditure plan has also removed Value Added Tax (VAT) on tap water and cooking oil. According to the Minister, the removal of VAT on the two items intends to improve nutrition and access to clean water.
Reacting to the development, Mkandawire, known for his strong advocacy on welfare of girls, welcomed the move to chop off duty on sanitary pads saying this will help to keep a girl child in school during menstruation period.
Mkandawire said this coming from the background that some girls from economically challenged families find it hard to buy sanitary pads for their adolescent daughters. This leads to school absenteeism during the time when the girls are experiencing their menstruation period. This further affects their performance in class and compel some of them to drop out of school all together.
“The budget looks visionally and quite interesting. The removal of taxes on some of the items like sanitary pads and removal of VAT on cooking oil are things that we should probably think positively in terms of the budget itself,” Mkandawire said.
Mkandawire also highlighted that the removal of VAT on tap water will translate into lower cost on consumption of water which in turn will help schools and households to ably manage water bills and enhance sanitation.
By Shadreck Sindiza