Friday May 9 2014

Who said wigs were luxuries?


By Angela Nampewo

If new taxes proposed by the ruling NRM party advisory committee on the budget are approved, sections of the public will feel the pinch. These include makers and consumers of processed milk, chocolate, sweets, chewing gum, computers, car fuel, paraffin and wigs.

Although I was stunned by the proposal to tax milk, it was the tax on wigs that really got my attention. The budget advisers are really getting creative these days. Unfortunately, in this case, as with previous taxes on feminine products, the people who contribute to the budget process have been so mistaken as to imagine that all things women apply on their bodies are luxuries. I have often wondered whether the budget committees consist of men and women who have no use for cosmetics or who shop abroad.
On the subject of wigs, if you want to know the magnitude of a levy on wigs, you don’t need to look very far. The budget advisers need to consult with ghetto president, Bobi Wine.

After all, the wig has been christened ‘kiwani’ after his hit song, which hints at just how many women are wearing someone else’s hair on our streets today. If these tax proposers have daughters, sisters, mothers and wives, then they would know what it means for a woman to be denied the right to a wig, in this day and age.
Hair wigs used to be the thing that saved you from random bad hair days or helped cover up sudden baldness or a hairdo gone wrong. With the rising cost of hair care and maintenance, wigs have become an absolute necessity in the life of an ordinary woman living on a tight budget. If the children have no food at home and the rent is due, a woman will not take the last of her money and pay it at the beauty salon.

She will pick up a hair wig, cover up her head and head out to make a living. So yes, while wigs might be worn for leisure by a few people who can do without them, these hair accessories are by no means a luxury for the majority of wig consumers.

As with the proposals to tax processed milk and paraffin, I would like to hear the advisory committee’s reasons for picking on these particular items to tax. Taxing things like baby food and the fuel that goes into a poor man’s lantern kind of defy logic.

So, when it came to the vote to include or not to include the wig on the list of taxable items, how did this team arrive at the conclusion that wigs were luxury items?

The March budget proposals for the 2013/2014 financial year included a recommendation to tax, among others, processed milk, locally produced chocolate, sweets, chewing gum, computers, car fuel, paraffin and wigs.