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Govt. has forgotten to keep its promise to waive duty on sanitary pads

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By Sanath Nanayakkare

A month had passed since the government announced a duty waiver on sanitary napkins, but it had still not been gazetted by the government, Advocata Institute said on Wednesday.

“The President’s Media Division (PMD) announced on 02 Oct., that taxes imposed on all imported raw material used in domestically produced sanitary napkins would be removed, but there is no gazette notification to date to put such a waiver into effect,” the Advocata Institute said.

“Furthermore, the PMD announced that it had been decided by the authorities to remove taxes on imported sanitary napkins as well, but there is no publication of that either in the official government gazette.

“Since May 2022, there has been continual rise in the prices of sanitary napkins in the market and the lowest price of a single sanitary pad is now Rs. 33. Besides, prices of all local and foreign brands of sanitary pads have increased by 70% between 2021 and 2022; just within a year,” they pointed out.According to Advocata, sanitary pads are beyond the reach of low-income earning women due to exorbitant prices and thus they have been deprived of a basic health right.

“In 2018, sanitary pads were subject to a tax of 101.2%. At present, before the VAT was removed, other taxes on sanitary pads amounted to 46.9%. Within this 46.9%, there is 15% VAT, 15% CESS and 10% PAL.

“Due to this high tax structure on sanitary pads, new manufacturers can’t enter the market. On top of taxes, currency depreciation and high inflation has made period poverty worse. All in all, women experience a great disadvantage of having fewer affordable options available to them in the market,” they said.

Advocata has emphasised that considering the wellbeing of women duties levied on sanitary pads must be made minimal and not only the VAT, the CESS and PAL should also be removed.



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Embassy officer arrested at BIA remanded

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The Embassy official who was attached to the Sri Lanka Embassy in Oman who is accused of being involved in a human trafficking racket was arrested by officers of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) and remanded till the 13th of December when he was produced before the Colombo Chief Magistrate

The official was arrested on his arrival at the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) this morning (29 November).

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Easter Sunday terror attack suspect hacked to death

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By Norman Palihawadane

A 38-year-old Easter Sunday terror attack suspect was hacked to death yesterday morning (28) in Mattakkuliya.

The victim, Mohamed Badurdeen Mohamed Harnas, was a resident of Safiya Avenue, Mattakkuliya, police said.

A suspect in the Easter Sunday terror attacks, he had been released on bail.

The suspect was rushed to the National Hospital, Colombo, after three individuals, who arrived in a car around 10. 00 am, attacked him.

Two persons attacked the man while the other was keeping the car engine running, according to eyewitnesses. The attackers thereafter fled in the same car.

Harnas was pronounced dead on admission to hospital.

Further investigations in this regard are currently underway.

The victims family members said that Harnas had been taken into custody, following the 2019 Easter Sunday attacks, but later released as there was no evidence of his involvement in terrorist activities.

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Rail service between Mahawa and Jaffna to be suspended for five months

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Transport Minister Bandula Gunawardena told Parliament yesterday that the railway services between Mahawa and Jaffna will be suspended for a period of five months in 2023.

The Minister said that operations will be suspended from January 15, 2023.

The Minister said it was to repair work on the railway line.

He said so in response to a question raised by Vanni District MP Selvam Adaikalanathan.

“We are focusing our attention on the request made by you. We have to halt railway operations between Mahawa and Jaffna for five months from January 2023. Train services have been continuously operating to Jaffna, but now we have faced a situation as we have not been able to carry out any repair work thus far,” the Minister said.

Assuring that this issue can be rectified in five months, Minister Gunawardane said that, thereafter, a good railway service can be provided for this route.

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