Dar es Salaam. Prices of sanitary towels are expected to fall as the government has taken a further move after it scrapped VAT for the products.
Letters have written to the Ministry of Finance and Planning and that of Industry and Trade to direct manufacturers and sellers to cut prices.
That was said by the minister of Health, Community Development, Gender, the Elderly and Children, Ms Ummy Mwalimu, who wrote the letters.
That happened because despite the VAT removal, prices of sanitary towels have not fallen.
When tabling the government budget for 2018/19 on June 14, 2018 in Parliament, Finance and Planning Philip Mpango announced the VAT removal for sanitary towels.
Currently, quality sanitary towels are sold at between Sh3,000 and Sh3,500 while low quality ones are sold at Sh1,500-2,000).
Still the majority of rural girls are unable to buy them.
“Prices of sanitary towels have not fallen as they were expected,” Ms Mwalimu told participants in a meeting on education in Dar es Salaam yesterday.
The two-day meeting brought together participants from Pakistan, Malawi, India, Mozambique, Kenya, Nigeria and Tanzania to discuss strategies of empowering women and girls in education.
Ms Mwalimu lamented the high number of schoolgirls’ dropouts due to early pregnancies and forced marriages.
She also spoke about the government commitment to address the matters in cooperation with various stakeholders.
The Tanzania Demographic and Health, and Malaria Indicator Surveys 2015-16 indicate that at least 27 out of 100 girls have babies before the age of 18 and at least 2 out of 5 girls are married before the age of 18.
Prof Asha Kanwar, a representative of NGO-Commonwealth of Learning, which implemented the Girls Inspire Project (Funded by governments of Canada and Australia) to end early child and forced marriages in Tanzania, said the organisation reached 429, 529 community members across the country.
“We have empowered at least 48, 627 women and girls by equipping them with various vocational training skills,” said Prof Kanwar.