Tanzanian politicians, citizens quarrel over tax on wigs and hair extensions

A forthcoming tax on wigs and hair extensions is getting mixed reviews in Tanzania.

As a fairly traditional country, Tanzania's beauty standards tend to gravitate towards natural hair, but wigs and extensions like those worn in Western culture are starting to become more popular.

hilip Mpango, the country's finance minister, announced on Thursday that a 25 percent tax will be imposed on imported wigs and hair extensions beginning next month, as well as a 10 percent tax on those made locally, BBC reports.

Supporters of the tax argue that it will increase revenue and encourage women to embrace their natural hair, but detractors say it feels like a punishment for women who want to change their looks.

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As a fairly traditional country, Tanzania's beauty standards tend to gravitate towards natural hair, but wigs and extensions like those worn in Western culture are starting to become more popular.<br data-cke-eol="1">

As a fairly traditional country, Tanzania's beauty standards tend to gravitate towards natural hair, but wigs and extensions like those worn in Western culture are starting to become more popular.<br data-cke-eol="1"> (AFP/Getty)

A Tanzanian wig importer, Annasatasia Sigera spoke out against the tax to BBC.

She asked: "People love artificial hair. Why of all the things that could be taxed did they opt for wigs?"

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Additionally, salon owner Aristote Mwamtobe complained that the tax would make wigs "too expensive for our sisters."

At their current prices, a wig costs about $4, but can sometimes sell for as much as $130.

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In addition to the wig tax, Finance Minister Mpango is also introducing a 10% increase on chocolate and cookies, raising it from 25 to 35 percent.