Tanzania's President John Magufuli has urged women to stop taking birth control pills, saying the country needs more people. Picture: Reuters/Thomas Mukoya

Johannesburg - Tanzania's President John Magufuli has urged women to stop taking birth control pills, saying the country needs more people - despite the fact that the East African country has one of the highest birth rates in the world. 

"Women can now give up contraceptive methods," Magufuli said.

However, opposition MP Cecil Mwambe criticised the comments, saying they contradicted the country's health policy, the BBC reported. 

In addition to Tanzania’s high birth rate of more than five children per woman, nearly 50 percent of its 53 million people live on less than $2 a day.

The day after Magufuli's comments, speaker of parliament Job Ndugai banned female lawmakers from wearing fake nails and eye-lashes in parliament.

Under new regulations, female MPs are also banned from wearing short dresses and jeans, while women visiting the parliament are expected to also adhere to the dress code.

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African News Agency (ANA)