Dodoma. Ulanga lawmaker Godluck Mlinga (CCM) on Wednesday, May 22 wondered why sanitary pads were not distributed for free to female students just like the way condoms were.
“The government is taking a better care of fornicators than it does to female students, this is shocking,” noted Mr Mlinga.
The legislator, who stood up on a-point-of-order basis immediately after a question-and-answer-session in the august House sought to know if the government was ready to provide students with the free sanitary towels.
He argued that the prices of the sanitary towels were still very high even after the exemption of Value-Added-Tax (VAT) effective July 1, last year with the aim of enabling women and school girls, in particular, to access the product at affordable prices.
“Most female students cannot afford the prices. As such, when they are in their menstruation period, they spend the days at home, this puts them at a disadvantage in their academic performance,” argued Mr Mlinga.
“Prices for other products are being slashed, condoms are distributed freely,” he stressed, asking: “does this mean the government cares more for fornicators than it does to female students?”
His contribution was well received by MPs across the political divide, whereby they responded by cheering him to express their appreciations.
Some lawmakers led by Urambo legislator Margaret Sitta (CCM) even stood up and went to where Mr Mlinga was seated to shake hands with him as a sign of their support.
In a swift rejoinder National Assembly Speaker Job Ndugai said the government heard the MPs’ cry and expressed his optimism that the matter raised by the lawmaker would be addressed.
Last month, Finance and Planning deputy minister Ashatu Kijaji told Parliament that the government was reconsidering the decision to scrap VAT on sanitary pads and come up with another option.
“We have established that the tax relief granted on sanitary towels was only benefiting traders and not women,” noted Dr Kijaji.