Sri Lanka’s health minister justifies high taxes for women’s sanitary pads

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ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s Health Minister Keheliya Rambukwella on Wednesday justified the higher taxes on women’s sanitary pads citing the move was to create more opportunity for locally produced sanitary products in the market.

The Minister said the foremost concern the government has now is the availability of the female hygiene product during the economic crisis.

“First thing under the present circumstances, particularly with the downturn of economy is that you must make it available at a reasonable price and affordable price for everybody to have it rather than making alternative arrangements,” Minister Rambukwella  told at a Twitter Space discussion titled “Policy making to menstruate with confidence”.

“Because alternative arrangements might result in some kind of ill health and then lead to various other complications which might be more detrimental.”

In the local market, both local and imported sanitary pads are available costing between 350- 800 rupees increasing from around 110 rupees a year earlier.

Majority of the market is dominated by the international brands and more females tend to purchase international brands than the local brands due to high quality.

“The reason why we have imposed a fairly heavy tax on it is to make sure and ensure that the local industry is benefited. So the competition might not be the same,” Rambukwella said.

He further said, the country must grow out of the thought of pads being a luxury item and think of it as a basic sanitary need in the world.

Minister also said the country must look into free or open market formats apart from the current mixed market economy.(Colombo/ Sep 21/2022)

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