Speaker of Parliament, Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin has stated that taxes on sanitary pads are unconscionable, and has called for them to be scrapped.
According to him, the tax imposition has increased the cost of sanitary pads, with scathing implications on the health and dignity of women.
He accused Parliament of committing a cardinal sin by allowing the government to levy a 20% luxury tax and a 15% VAT on sanitary pads.
“Why should we pass a law imposing tax on sanitary pads? This is unconscionable; it is a cardinal sin. The House shouldn’t have allowed this at all,” he asserted on the floor of Parliament yesterday.
Mr. Bagbin quizzed, “You know the impact of that law on the human resource development and on the development of this country?”
He argued that the impact of the taxes on human development was immeasurable, saying, “That is why I suspended sitting and had to attend to them (referring to people who petitioned the House on the taxes).
“I have a copy of the petition and we have to take immediate action to prevent whoever Minister is proposing that thing to take it off,” he added.
The Speaker said the taxes must not appear in the next budget, noting, “It cannot be a tax. Please, I take a very serious view on this matter. It was even raised at a forum in Tamale.”
“This Parliament has imposed a restriction on itself. If you look at the concept in our democracy, the option that we have chosen is captured in our Constitution,” he said.
He contended that the executive is not more powerful than Parliament for the legislature to play a subservient role to it.
“We have just handed over our powers to exactly what the Supreme Court said recently. We give authorities to the executive to impose restrictions during the COVID-19 era.
“I stated on the floor that it was wrong for Parliament to legislate and give its responsibility and hand it over on a silver platter to the executive,” he stated.
He intimated that the Supreme Court had ruled saying that it was unconstitutional, and urged MPs not to allow that to happen again.
“Why should we do that? Again, our own power, we have given it to the executive for it to be establishing Ministries. Read the constitution well. That is the function of Parliament,” the Speaker said.
By Ernest Kofi Adu, Parliament House