Dlamini salutes zero-rating of products

Women Minister BathabileDlamini has lauded Finance Minister Tito Mboweni for announcing the zero-rating of sanitary pads, bread flour and cake flour.

Dlamini said the move, made during the tabling of the 2018/19 Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement (MTBPS) in Parliament on Wednesday, demonstrates a profound commitment by government to transform the quality of the lives of the poor.

Delivering the MTBPS, Mboweni announced that government proposed that come April 2019 the three items will be added to the zero-rated list.

She said the provision of free sanitary pads to female learners will alleviate the burdens of women, and afford women the opportunity to reprioritize their funds for other developmental ventures.

As we realise the President's vision of Thuma Mina, and as we rebuild our country under a difficult economic and fiscal environment, it is imperative that women take precedence in all our decisions. If the Presidency is to achieve its vision of a society that realizes the socio-economic empowerment of women and the advancement of gender equality, the path we take towards faster and more inclusive economic growth must be premised on a principle of gender-responsive budgeting, the Minister said.

In the context of low growth and downwards economic outlook, she said, it is women who are the bearers of the consequences.

An efficient way of ensuring that South Africa transforms this status-quo is by mainstreaming a gender consciousness into all national initiatives that responds to the five measures announced by the President for economic growth stimulus. This namely: growth enhancing economic reforms; (2) reprioritization of public spending; (3) infrastructure investment through the infrastructure Fund; (4) education and health; and (5) Municipal social infrastructure improvement, she said.

Highlighting the allocation of more than 60% of non-interest to education, health, social development and community development, the Minister said the decision reinforced government's commitment to the socio-economic development of those at the bottom of the ladder: the majority whom are single parent families headed by African women.

The R668 million allocated to revitalize government-owned industrial parks in township areas is a further demonstration of government's commitment to changing the lives of poor and working class women. Township economies are sustained by the informalised business ventures of women, through spaza shops, vetkoek stands, and second-hand clothing corners, she said.

Dlamini thanked the Interdepartmental National Task Team that drafted the Sanitary Dignity Policy Framework. The Framework, drafted by officials from various departments, has also been reviewed by external international and national stakeholders to ensure that the distribution plan is in line with the needs of communities.

As South Africa and the World emerge from the International Day of Rural Women on 15 October, it is imperative that women are the primary beneficiaries of the transactions worth R16.2 billion reserved for emerging farmers through the Land Bank, she said.

Source: South African Government News Agency

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