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SJB calls for zero duty on hygiene products for women and children

Social Justice Bermuda March (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

A campaign group yesterday appealed for Customs duty on feminine hygiene and childcare products to be axed.

Social Justice Bermuda said the Government should remove taxes from menstrual products and infant products to help relieve the financial burden on women.

The group said: "SJB believes that the resulting minor loss in Government revenue will be more than offset by the benefits to women and families – especially those who are working and middle-class – consistent with the Government’s platform promise.“

SJB also asked the Government to enact to look at the creation of extra laws against sexual exploitation and the introduction of compulsory training on “unconscious bias” for police and jurors.

The appeals were part of the SJB’s 2020 platform, which included a commitment to campaign to make the Customs duty system fairer.

Feminine hygiene products and other disposal sanitary products are covered in tariff heading 96.19 of the Bermuda Customs Tariff 2020.

All the products covered, apart from napkin liners for babies and diapers for adults with incontinence, have a 25 per cent duty rate.

Diaper linings for infants have a 6.5 per cent duty tariff, but linings for adult diapers are duty-free.

SJB said an extension of the zero per cent rate to other products would help the Government live up to its platform promise to reduce some Customs duties and “relieve the pressure on working and middle class families”.

The group was speaking after Tylasha DeSilva, a student at Bermuda College, launched We BLead Bermuda, a charity set up to tackle “period poverty” through the provision feminine hygiene products to women and girls and to break down the stigma attached to periods.

SJB backed Ms DeSilva and said: “We encourage the community to support this project and look forward to this project developing over time as it is sure to effect change towards a more socially just society.”

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Published March 19, 2021 at 8:45 am (Updated March 19, 2021 at 8:45 am)

SJB calls for zero duty on hygiene products for women and children

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