CSOs call on government to exempt taxes on contraceptives to improve family planning

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), a People’s Coalition (CPC), called on the Federal Government to comply with the Common Interests Council (CCI) decision to ensure the safety of contraceptive commodities and the uninterrupted availability of all contraceptives.

The current 2021 complementary finance bill presented to Parliament by the federal government has imposed an annual tax of Rs 200 million on the importation of contraceptives.

The bill proposed to remove tax exemptions worth Rs 2 billion on general-use items, including contraceptives.

CPC is a coalition of 19 civil society organizations working across Pakistan on the thematic areas of family planning, reproductive health and rights, women’s rights, education, children’s rights , environment, peace and governance and rural development.

Affordability and accessibility of family planning services are identified as major barriers contributing to the high unmet need in Pakistan.

Currently, 53 percent of rich and poor couples who practice family planning obtain contraceptives from pharmacies, stores and the private sector. This great majority of the population will be the most affected by this new tax.

Considering that women are disproportionately affected by repeated pregnancies and the burden they must bear in raising their families, denying family planning services by making contraceptives less affordable has serious gender and human rights implications. .

Contraceptives are an essential medical product. Pakistan must avoid missing out on opportunities by ensuring an affordable and uninterrupted supply of a wide range of contraceptive methods to ensure the well-being of its people and for sustained population growth.

Contraceptive security is one of the eight strategies to achieve the intended goals of the ICC.

Pakistan has the lowest contraceptive prevalence rate (CPR) among countries in the region and taxation of contraceptives will undoubtedly have a negative effect on the increase in contraceptive use in the country.

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