Charmaine Brown Herald Reporter
THE Government has noted that the price of sanitary wear has shot beyond the reach of many women who have resorted to using unhygienic materials exposing them to various diseases despite the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRA) waiving customs duty on imports of the feminine product.
ZIMRA has informed the public on the suspension of customs duty on sanitary wear for women as a way of promoting hygiene.
In a statement , ZIMRA said: “There is no customs duty on the importation of sanitary wear for women. The price of sanitary wear in Zimbabwe shot up beyond the reach of many women facing them to use unhygienic materials that expose them to infections and other health-related problems.
“In response to the plight of women, the Government scrapped duty and Value Added Tax (VAT) on sanitary wear to make it available and to promote hygiene for women. Statutory Instrument 264 of 2018 provides for a suspension of duty on sanitary wear for women for imports done during the period December 1 2018 to November 30,2019.
“This means that no customs duty will be charged on importation of sanitary wear. In addition, the sanitary wear is exempted from paying import VAT, meaning that VAT is not charged in terms of Statutory Instrument 265 of 2018.
“Examples of sanitary wear covered under this exemption include products like sanitary towels and tampons. It should be noted that any products that is sanitary wear of any other chapter than 96 will attract the applicable duty,” read the statement.
In Zimbabwe, about 72 percent of menstruating rural primary school girls do not use sanitary pads.
Some girls have reportedly had to share the same piece of cloth with their mothers to stem menstrual flows as they cannot afford proper pads.
This has seen most girls missing school or using unhygienic material exposing themselves to urinary tract infections, rashes and bacterial build-ups.
Sanitary wear products will benefit from a suspension of customs duty, and an exemption from VAT for a period of 12 months.