The Minister of Women Affairs, Mrs Pauline Tallen has said that the proposed tariff increase in sanitary products poses danger to Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM).

Tallen said the proposed policy which will increase import tariff on diapers and sanitary pads from 20 per cent to 55 per cent, would affect availability and affordability of the products

The minister stated this at a joint ministerial news briefing in Abuja ahead of the 2021 Children’s Day on  May 27 and the World Menstrual Hygiene Day, May 28.

Tallen said the proposed policy will pose great danger to MHM and successes recorded by the ministry in that regard.

“We will also use this opportunity to highlight to the appropriate authorities the dangers of the proposed National Diaper and Sanitary Pads Policy.

“The increase in the import tariff on diapers and sanitary pads from 20 per cent to 55 per cent will pose danger to Menstrual Hygiene Management.

“This policy will no doubt affect the availability, affordability and acceptability of sanitary pads in the country.

“It will further negate the successes so far recorded by this ministry in this regard,’’ she said.

According to her, available statistics indicate that about 37 million Nigerian adolescent girls and women of reproductive age lack access to menstrual health hygiene products due to high costs.

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 this was an essential commodity.

“This high cost of menstrual products which will in the long run be borne by women and girls will definitely affect school girls across Nigeria.

“It will create a `Period Poverty’, a situation where women and young girls lack access to sanitary products due to financial constraints.’’

The minister said the 2021 theme, “It’s time for Action,” was a call to ensure girls and women did not feel limited by their periods through increased education on menstrual hygiene.

On children’s day, Tallen stressed the need to protect them from violence, neglect and abuse.

She said that this could be achieved when the 36 states and FCT fully domesticate the Child Rights Act (CRA) 2013 and the Violence Against Persons Prohibition (VAPP) Act 2015.

The Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Dr Anthonia Ekpa, emphasised the need to make life more meaningful and enjoyable for children especially the vulnerable.

Also, Director, Advocacy and Campaigns, Save the Children International-Nigeria, Mr Amanuel Mamo, decried the effects of COVID-19, saying it had exposed more children to exploitation, early marriage and interruption of education.

Mamo said the organisation, through the support of Cuppy Foundation, donated N50 million worth of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and Infection Prevention and Control (IPU) to Lagos state and the FCT.

He added that an additional COVID-19 response and medical supplies and oxygen devices worth more than N38 Million and N20 million were donated to Lagos and Jigawa states.

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