Public campaign seeks to end ‘period tax’ in Maldives

A woman pictured in a clothing store in the capital Male. MIHAARU FILE PHOTO/MOHAMED SHARUHAAN

A woman pictured in a clothing store in the capital Male. MIHAARU FILE PHOTO/MOHAMED SHARUHAAN

A campaign to repeal the tax on sanitary pads and tampons has gathered pace on social media which has also attracted support from top opposition officials.

In the Maldives, sanitary napkins are subject to Goods and Services Tax (GST) at standard rates because they are not considered an “essential” product.

Over 500 people has already signed an online petition asking the parliament and the government to repeal the tax on periods.

Shafa Rameez who leads the campaign #MassaruTax [period tax] argues that menstruating was not a luxury for women.

She hopes that the social media campaign would raise public awareness and ultimately lead to tax exemption for sanitary pads.

Opposition lawmakers meanwhile have supported the campaign and pledged to vote in favour of the tax exemption.

“We’ll willingly give our support if Govt proposes,” Main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) lawmaker for north-Machchangoalhi Mariya Ahmed Didi said on Twitter.

According to parliament rules of procedure, any tax related bills must be submitted by the government.

“Opposition not allowed to submit tax bills. Will have full support if you can convince Govt to do so,” MDP lawmaker Eva Abdulla said.

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