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Babu Owino: Taxing women’s weaves and wigs will hurt tourism industry

Embakasi East MP Babu Owino has raised concerns over a proposed Bill that seeks to introduce tax on women’s wigs and weaves, saying the move will greatly hurt the tourism industry.

Speaking in an interview, the MP claimed that weaves and wigs worn by women attract tourists and high taxation will affect the industry and the beauty of women.

The Finance Bill 2023 is also seeking to introduce a tax on human hair, eyelashes, switches and artificial nails in a move that will raise the prices of these beauty products.

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“A government that is stealing from our ladies is not a good government and a real man should not steal from ladies. Our ladies are now putting on these wigs, the weaves to attract tourists. And the main tourist attraction in this country is our beautiful ladies,” he said.

The MP further took a swipe at President William Ruto’s administration, saying the only thing they have failed to tax is oxygen.

“You are taxed to wear clothes, meanwhile they are saying that walking naked is a crime. Everything is being taxed. They are taxing food, clothes, education, medicines and housing,” he said.

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The proposed taxation will be a double blow to the beauty industry which is also set to see a rise in the excise stamp charges for beauty and cosmetic products from Sh0.6 to Sh2.5 per stamp, a 316 per cent increase.

The Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) intends to roll out excise stamps for the products starting on July 1 as contained in the Excise Duty (Excisable Goods Management System- EGMS) (Amendment) Regulations, 2023, that was published early in the year.

Official data show the industry has grown by over Sh10 billion over the past decade as more Kenyans embrace the use of makeup and other beauty products.

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