Dar es Salaam — The government has pledged to create an enabling environment for the cosmetics sector to thrive as it seeks to get a bogger pie of the $532 billion industry globally.
Gracing the official launching of the Tanzania Cosmetology Association (TCA) in Dar es Salaam yesterday, the minister for Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children, Ms Ummy Mwalimu, said Tanzania currently enjoys a paltry three per cent of the multibillion dollar industry.
The minister said Tanzania has a huge potential to generate money from the cosmetics industry, pledging government support for small and medium size industries. "We will offer full support for all enterprises that will be producing safe cosmetics for healthy use... I promise that, when I leave here, I will liaise with the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) to include cosmetics as among the sectors that will contribute massively to the GDP [gross domestic product]," she said.
Production of major oils from locally-grown raw materials - such as avocados and coconuts - as well as products like soap, gives the government hope that the sector's potential is huge. She It was, therefore, high time that cosmetology was included in educational curricula to enable people involved in the sector understand the basic knowledge and hazards of using dangerous chemicals to produce cosmetics for human use.
According to her, in 2005 there were 2,416 new cancer patients, bringing the total number to 7,649, most of them being victims of cosmetics made from harmful chemicals.
In another development, a director from the Chief Chemist Office, Mr Sabanitho Mtega, said globally 355,000 people are harmed annually by substandard cosmetics. Two-thirds of the victims are from developing countries, including Tanzania.
So, cosmetics producers should heed advice from experts regarding hazardous chemicals.
"Harmful cosmetics cause cancer, kidney failure, hair loss, infertility, loss of body immunity, brain damage and other health problems," he said.
In the event, the government was taking action to control rampant use of hazardous chemicals and promote 'healthy cosmetics.'
For her part, the TCA chairperson, Shekha Nasser, said Tanzania was not earning enough from cosmetology, which will be a $863 billion industry by 2028. She said Kenya, South Africa and Nigeria were currently reaping big from the industry.
"The sector needs to be supported because it has the potential to create jobs, contribute to the economy - and support the government in its industrialisation agenda," she said.