CSOs decry taxation on condoms

Tuesday, November 29th, 2022 04:00 | By
CSOs decry taxation on condoms
Condoms. PHOTO/Pexels

Kenya faces a major shortage of condoms, threatening the fight against HIV/Aids and other sexually transmitted infections.

Yesterday, Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in the health sector cautioned that if the situation is not addressed appropriately, it risks rolling back the gains made in HIV/AIDS response in the country.

It also emerged that the shortage is partly occasioned by the country’s tax regime, which saw a consignment of condoms destined for Kenya early in the year, diverted to Uganda.

Dr Samuel Kinyanjui, the AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) Kenya Country Director said currently, the aggregate tax regime slapped on condom procurements is shilling for a shilling.

“Why do we have to tax commodities donated free of charge? Going down this road will only wreak havoc in a country that is unable to fund our health system. We should decide whether we want condoms or taxes because once the donors withdraw, then we are doomed,” said Dr Kinyanjui in a Nairobi Hotel. 

A source revealed that the government imposed a Sh10 million tax on the condoms that were coming into the country for free through a donor.

“However, this annoyed the donor who then decided to donate the commodities to Uganda,” the source divulged.

Accompanied by sprinter Ferdinand Omanyala, who is AHF’s Youth Ambassador and National Empowerment Network for People Living with HIV/AIDS in Kenya (NEPHAK) executive director, Nelson Otwoma, the source said the condoms shortage, teen pregnancies and Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) requires top political leadership to address.

Another reason for the shortage according to the CSOs is the World Bank’s ranking of the country as a lower middle income economy.

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