Sanitary pad subsidy: Shoprite

Sanitary pad subsidy: Shoprite goes VAT-free

Shoprite slashes the cost of sanitary pads.

Sanitary pad subsidy: Shoprite

South African supermarket giant, Shoprite, has committed itself to subsidise the cost of sanitary pads by removing Value-added Tax (VAT) from the Ultrex range.

Civil rights groups have intensified their calls to government and retailers on the issue of women’s health, particularly in regards to sanitary pads and female hygiene products.

The issue of costly female hygiene products has turned into a global issue, with women complaining that they are being made to pay for their biological makeup.

Shoprite cuts the cost of sanitary pads

Many local initiatives have been started with the aim of providing women in underprivileged areas the dignity afforded by proper hygiene products. These programmes provide free sanitary pads to women who would otherwise be unable to afford them.

While calls for sanitary pads to be excluded from VAT have fallen on deaf ears in government – local retailer, Shoprite, has taken it upon themselves to lighten the financial load on female consumers.

The franchise retailer has chosen to remove VAT from all Ultrex branded sanitary pads. The products will now cost R10.99 – which, according to The Citizen, is almost 50% cheaper than other brands.

Pink Tax

The term Pink Tax refers to gender discriminatory pricing on products ranging from soap to sanitary pads to razor blades. Studies show that women pay approximately 13% more for personal care items.

A panel of experts employed by the National Treasury is currently investigating products which may soon be included in the VAT-free bracket. These include products such as white bread and flour, school uniforms and nappies, and extended to female hygiene products such as tampons and sanitary pads.

Sanitary pads listed as ‘luxury items’

Currently, female hygiene products are subject to VAT because they are deemed ‘luxury items’. Clearly this label is flawed, hence the revision process currently underway.

Statistics show that in 2016, there were 2.6 million girls aged 9 to 20 in South Africa, and many of these miss weeks of school due to their periods.