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Ghana: Tax On Condoms Would Increase Unwanted Pregnancies

         Date: 2013-07-25

           Tag: Ghana, tax on condoms, pharmaceutical dealer

Summary: Some dealers in pharmaceuticals at the Okashie Market in Accra have called on the government to rescind its proposition to impose a 1% tax on condoms, arguing that the proposed measure was unheard o…

Some dealers in pharmaceuticals at the Okashie Market in Accra have called on the government to rescind its proposition to impose a 1% tax on condoms, arguing that the proposed measure was unheard of, ridiculous and morally repugnant.

Taxing such items, they argued, would increase the rate of unwanted pregnancies and the acquisition of Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs), saying it will be catastrophic to the nation's health.

One of the dealers, who only identified herself as Efua Mensah, expressed dismay at the government's decision. "Why does the government want to tax everything" she queried, adding that it has the tendency of imposing more hardships on the masses.

A former Director General of the Ministry of Health, Dr Elias Sory on his part advised government to take a holistic look at its decision to add condoms to items on which special levies would be charged, in considering the Special Import Levy Bill.

Parliament three weeks ago Okayed the government's request to tax certain items; including condoms, cutlasses, outboard motors, book binding machines and fishing nets among many others, at the point of entry, under the Special Import Levy Bill.

Speaking on TV3's morning news programme on Wednesday, he argued that taxing condoms would be "a public health disaster."

He said the condoms were invented to prevent diseases, therefore, it should be relooked at against the successes that "we have chalked over the years" outlining successes chalked in dropping HIV/AIDS prevalence from a twenty-four percent to single percentage using condoms.

"This is a commodity many people are getting used to," he said of condoms. "The tax coming at this time, I think it is wrongly placed," he noted. He, therefore, pleaded with the government to rescind its decision.

However, Deputy Minister for Information and Media Relations has stated that the proposed tax on condom was not exclusive, but formed part of the items and commodities that Government was roping into the tax net.

"The tax, if approved, will not cover all types of condoms, as has been put out there by the media, but will tax only 'luxurious and expensive condoms', he stressed.

Government's decision to introduce taxes on condoms has raised eye brows and stirred public discourse, with many calling for the shelving of the idea.


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