In the budget for FY2019-20, the government imposed a 45% supplementary duty on the import of sanitary napkins
There has been no additional increase in value-added tax (VAT) on sanitary napkins in the recently passed National Budget FY2019-20.
The National Board of Revenue (NBR) issued a press release in this regard on Wednesday.
Saying that a group of people has been spreading false information claiming there has been a 45% increase in VAT on sanitary napkins, the NBR urged people not to be misled.
Saying the spread of such fake information on various social media platforms and online media outlets is unacceptable as there has been no increase in import duties and tax on sanitary pads, the NBR stressed that the news about a 45% VAT increase on sanitary pads is fake.
In fact, in order to ensure the social and health security of women, the government has exempted VAT and supplementary duty (SD) on the import of raw materials and other such products by domestic napkin producers to encourage cheaper domestic production, the press release stated.
The current government considers it important to ensure women enjoy good health and have access to social security, said the press release.
In the budget for FY2019-20, the government imposed a 45% supplementary duty on the import of finished sanitary pads and tampons, napkins and napkin liners for babies, and other similar articles.
Defining the products as luxury items, the government imposed the supplementary duties, which drew criticism from women’s rights bodies as further taxes would spark a rise in the price of sanitary napkins and diapers.
Entrepreneurs and manufacturers urged the government to reconsider supplementary duties for the sake of local businesses.
Water Aid Bangladesh in an earlier statement, termed the government decision to rescind import duties on sanitary pads an extraordinary initiative.
It is expected that the price of sanitary pads can be lowered by 40% if this exemption is factored into manufacturing sanitary napkins more cost efficiently for tens of thousands of women and girls in the country, said Water Aid Bangladesh.
It also urged all sanitary napkin manufacturers to immediately apply and reflect this tax-exemption in their prices, so that women and girls may benefit from the tax exemption.
The UK charity hopes the government will continue to support similar initiatives for women, particularly encouraging small and medium size manufacturers across the country to promote accessible and affordable hygiene products for women and girls in rural and hard-to-reach regions of the country.
According to industry officials, the annual market size for sanitary napkins is about Tk400 crore and growing, at 20% year on year. The infant diaper market is Tk300 crore with an annual market growth rate of 15%.