Minister of Women Affairs, Dame Pauline Tallen, has raised the alarm over the proposed National Diaper and Sanitary Pads Policy, meant to increase the import tariff on the products from 20% to 55%, saying it poses great danger to menstrual hygiene management.
Tallen stated this Tuesday in Abuja at a joint ministerial media briefing ahead of this year’s Children’s Day to be celebrated March 27 on the theme: “Effect of COVID-19 Pandemic on the Total Wellbeing of the Child: The Way Forward, and Menstrual Hygiene Day to be celebrated March 28 on the theme: “It’s time for Action” to ensure girls and women do not feel limited by their periods through increased education on menstrual hygiene.
She was worried that, currently, about 37,000,000 adolescent girls and women of reproductive age lack access to menstrual health hygiene products due to its high cost.
She noted that any increase in the importation tariff will affect consumers’ price and the purchasing ability which will be detrimental to women and girls, knowing that sanitary products are essential commodity.
She stated further that high cost of menstrual products which will in the long run be borne by women and girls will definitely affect school girls, thereby creating what she termed “Period Poverty” – a situation where women and young girls lack access to sanitary products due to financial constraints.
“This Policy will no doubt affect the availability, affordability and acceptability of sanitary pads in the country,” she stated.
The minister also said the COVID-19 pandemic exposed children to increased risks of different levels of violence, including physical and emotional abuse, sexual and gender-based violence,online sexual exploitation, amongst others.