Plastic bag ban outweighs commercial interests – Court

By Soko Directory Team / Published August 26, 2017 | 7:02 am





The Kenyan High Court on Friday dismissed manufacturers’ lobby application to suspend ban on plastic bags set to take effect on Monday.

High Court Judge Benard Mweresa Eboso of the Environment and Land Court  dismissed the petition by the Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM) stating that the need to conserve the environment outweighed commercial interests.

“The grant of conservatory order in the circumstances of this dispute means that the offensive plastic bags continue to suffocate the environment to the detriment of the Kenyan population, while serving the commercial interests of a section of the plastic .

“The application does not satisfy the criteria for grant of a conservatory order. A conservatory order would severely injure the public interest,” the judge said.

KAM had moved to court demanding temporarily orders to stop the ban.

KAM argued that the that the ban  would affect those directly  employed by the plastic sector which is over 2.89 percent of Kenyan Employees (approx. 60,000 employees). Indirect employment and dependents through retailers, wholesalers, recyclers, packers and outlets is over 1.2 million personnel

However, KAM said they have never been against the ban but differed on its execution.

“We would like to clarify that as the Association of Manufacturers we have never been against the intent of the ban, which is to clean up our country, towards improving the quality of life for all citizens. We have only differed on the manner of its execution, which did not take into account adequate stakeholder consultation,” said the association in a statement.

The court decision means that from Monday, there will be no bags produced for commercial and household use in the entire industry. “This will negatively affect manufacturing plastic sector economic contribution. The shutdown of many factories will also mean immediate termination of workers with no send-off packages and no alternatives provided,” said KAM.

The case will be mentioned on September 21 for directions of the hearing of the main petition.

In June, The national Assembly Departmental Committee on Environment and Natural Resources backed a petition seeking suspension of the Gazette Notice No. 2356 of 2017 on the ban, use, manufacture and importation of plastic bags, “Did not comply with the statutory Instruments Act, 2013. Even if, the issuance of the Notice had complied with the relevant provisions of the statutory Instruments Act 2013, the timeline of six months given in the Notice for companies to cease operation was unreasonably short.”

Findings from the committee noted that, “The cost value of the plastic manufacturing sector is in excess of Ksh 88 billion and the direct employments created by the plastic sector is over 2.89 percent of the Kenyan employees which is approximately 60,000 personnel nationwide and their annual turnover is over Ksh 100 billion.”

Thus, “The ban imposed by the Cabinet Secretary for Environment does not resolve the problem identified by the experts or create a sustainable approach to addressing the problem.”

The Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM)  Waste Management Proposals In 2016-2017 proposes solutions to address polythene waste in line with global best practices.

For instance, they call for the inclusion of provisions to encourage use of bio-degradable products and recycling such as national fiscal incentives such as Green Levy Funds to address plastic waste management; tax incentives to promote manufacture and use of biodegradable packaging products; tax incentives for capital goods for recycling; tax rebates to industries promoting waste management; and imposition of penalties for littering in unlawful places to deter littering.

There is need to remove the existing Excise Duty (120/= Kg on Shopping bags) due to inefficiency to address plastic waste management and replaced with a waste management levy at one percent value of all raw materials which will be collected fund ensuring  that employment of opportunities are created and job losses are avoided and revenue is boosted.

Finally, the establishment of “The Waste Management Board Levy”, to be charged on all plastic at source (Point Of Entry) on CIF Value. The funds should be managed through a public private partnership by Government agencies that include, the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources, National Environmental Management Authority and National Treasury as well as private sector and non-governmental organizations.

The case will be mentioned on September 21 for directions of the hearing of the main petition.

Kenya tried to ban polythene bags twice before, in 2007 and 2011, without success.





About Soko Directory Team

Soko Directory is a Financial and Markets digital portal that tracks brands, listed firms on the NSE, SMEs and trend setters in the markets eco-system.Find us on Facebook: facebook.com/SokoDirectory and on Twitter: twitter.com/SokoDirectory

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