In Kenya‘‘s 2007 national budget, the FInance Minister announced that partly to protect the environment from further degradation, he proposed to impose an excise duty of 120% on plastic bags. He further proposed to impose a ban on very thin plastic bags. These measures are expected to encourage industry players to devise environmentally friendlier bags for shoppers.

East African Standard (Nairobi) reported that Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM) says the 120 per cent duty imposed on plastic bags would render thousands of people jobless.” The Government intention seems to be an imposition of a ban on the use of flimsy bags and further to dissuade the general use of plastic bags,” said KAM in a statement.

“From the industry, this is an unfortunate move that should be rescinded immediately.”

The manufacturing sector umbrella body, said the 120 per cent excise duty imposed by Finance minister, Mr Amos Kimunya, during his Budget speech on Thursday more than doubles the cost of plastics. KAM says the natural substitute to plastics is paper which also poses an environmental threat resulting from the decimation of forests. The Government has already banned logging of trees, shifting most packaging industries from paper to plastics.

The statement says the tax had gone against the spirit of ongoing consultations between the private sector and Government on resolving the issue.

“A standard has already been developed and agreed upon and that phases out production of flimsies and sets the minimum bag thickness at 20 microns,” says KAM. “The move will definitely add to the cost of doing business, which negates the minister‘‘s pledge to reduce the cost of doing business.”

However, a cross section of Kenyans supported the move saying it would force manufacturers change to biogradable bags.

“Countries like Rwanda have already banned the use of plastic bags,” says Kairo Thuo, a tax expert with Deloitte Company. “In Kigali, incoming passengers are required to deposit their plastic bags at the airport and purchase jute bags.”

Meanwhile, Nakumatt Holdings will launch re-usable carrier bags following the introduction of 120 per cent excise duty on plastic bags by the Government. The supermarket chain said the re-usable bags will be available in its outlets by next week.

The firm‘‘s Operations Director, Mr Thiagarajan Ramamurthy said the bags will be available to shoppers for free but will thereafter be replaced at a fee after they wear out.

Nakumatt currently uses more than 50 million degradable plastic bags for packaging following its shift from non-biodegradable plastic bags in 2005.

“Besides the carrier bags we are working on a range of other solutions aimed at ensuring our operations are sustainable,‘‘ he said in a statement.

“our obligations is to commit us to operate in an environmentally sustainable manner and the introduction of these re-usable bags is a deliberate attempt to significantly cut on plastic packaging,” Ramamurthy said.

Finance minister, Mr Amos Kimunya, in his Budget speech slapped a 120 per cent excise duty on plastics saying it is aimed at protecting the environment from further degradation.

The minister also proposed to impose a ban on very thin plastic bags as part of strategic measures expected to encourage industry players to device environmental friendly bags.


Ano da Publicação:
WARMER BULLETIN ENEWS #26-2007-June 29, 2006
Kit Strange/Warmer Bulletin
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