Government distances itself from retailers’ plastic levy

The Government has distanced itself from the current plastic levy that is currently charged by some retail shops, saying its proposed levy is not gazetted yet.

Currently some retailers are charging customers N.dollars 0.50 per plastic bag.

In a media statement issued on Wednesday by the Ministry of Finance said the ministry is aware of various retailers that are charging their customers for plastic bags, therefore the money that customers pay for the plastic bags forms part of the individual businesses.

Although the ministry welcomes the initiatives by business outlets to curb the pollution of the environment, we wish to inform the nation that the money that is currently being charged by retailers is not yet part of the plastic levy that government has proposed as the levy has not yet been gazetted, it said.

The statement however noted that exception is given to the PupkewitzMegabuild and its subsidiary, kaapAgri Namibia which voluntarily introduced Break-Free-from-Plastic Campaign charging N.dollars 0.50 per plastic carrier since December 2018, saying the quarterly proceeds handed over N.dollars 60 000 to Environment Investment Fund (EIF) so far.

It further noted that the company has committed to such an arrangement until the levy has been gazetted.

The statement said the decision was taken by Cabinet to impose environmental levy on plastic bags of which the proceeds should be channelled to EIF for re-investment in improved waste management practices.

The implementation of this levy will be done through the Customs and Excise Act No 20 of 1998 which is administered by the Ministry of Finance, said the statement.

The process of amendments to the act has been completed and will be gazetted on 01 August 2019, however the new levies will be into operation after it is tabled in the National Assembly.

The nation will be informed once the entire process has been finalised, in the meantime we wish to reiterate our position that charges that shops have begun to charging their customers are not part of the environmental levies, it concluded.

Source: Namibia Press Agency