Taxes on wigs rattling beauty, salon business

15Jun 2019
The Guardian Reporter
The Guardian
Taxes on wigs rattling beauty, salon business

THE government’s move to introduce a 25 per cent tax on imported wigs and hair extensions has received mixed reactions, as some say it will affect the sector, while others hailed the move.

The reactions came after Minister for Finance and Planning Dr Philip Mpango tabled the 2019/20 budget estimates, whereby among other things he said that wigs manufactured locally will now be charged 10 per cent value in tax whereas imported ones will attract a 25 per cent tax charge.

In separate interviews some women described the move as meant to punish those who are interested in wigs and hair extensions.

Zamda Ismail, a resident of Kimara in Dar es Salaam expressed her dissatisfaction over the government’s move, saying: “This is aimed at adding extra cost to wigs’ enthusiasts. I don’t see why the government should come to that.”

Zamda, who also run a small hair and beauty salon in the area, said that there are lots of areas which are yet to be tapped when it comes to revenue sources.

“This as a challenge to salon business operators, and my fear is that some of us with small business will lose customers,” said Agnes Mahenge, who has been in the business for the past three years.

Mahenge called on the government to revisit the decision, as it can affect the industry while it employs a good number of women countrywide.

A well-known wig importer Anastasia Sigera said: “People love artificial hair. Why of all the things that could be taxed did they opt for wigs?"

She stated that the new tax could affect the market as people will start buying cheaper low quality wigs.

One woman, who wanted to remain anonymous, told the BBC that she currently spends US$450on her hair extensions.

“It's like they're punishing us because women like hair and we like to look good."

Aristote Mwamtobe, who runs a popular salon in the city, also expressed his anger and thought it could have an effect on people’s relationships.

“The 10 per cent tax (for locally-made wigs) and the 25 per cent tax (for imported wigs) is too expensive for our sisters," he said.

"They might cut their hair and then get a divorce as the men are used to seeing their wives with long hair, and then suddenly things change!

"Women look so good with wigs."

Some interviewed women recommended the government’s move, saying wigs and hair extensions are luxury things and not basic necessities.