WINDHOEK – Although various retailers throughout the country have already been charging customers extra for plastic bags, the Ministry of Finance this week confirmed that the money collected by shops is not yet part of the Plastic Bag Levy announced by Finance Minister Calle Schlettwein, during his tabling of the 2019/20 national budget in March.
“Although the Ministry of Finance welcomes 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. This means the money that customers pay for the plastic bags, forms part of the individual businesses’ incomes,” reads a statement by the finance ministry’s spokesperson Tonateni Shidhudhu.
However, Shidhudhu noted this with the exception of the Pupkewitz Megabuild and its subsidiary, Kaap Agri Namibia, who voluntarily introduced a Break-Free-from-PIastic Campaign whereby they charge 50 cents per plastic carrier bag at all its outlets since December 2018. “The quarterly proceeds are handed over to the Environmental Investment Fund (EIF). So far, N$60 000 has been handed over to the EIF and the company has committed to this arrangement until Schedule 1 to the Customs and Excise Act has been amended,” said Shidhudhu.
The decision was taken by Cabinet to impose environmental levy on plastic bags, of which the proceeds should be channelled to the 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. This same Act was used to impose levies on carbon dioxide emissions, tires, and incandescent bulbs. The Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Environment and Tourism, and the EIF have been working out modalities on the income consolidation policy to facilitate the effectiveness of the levies.
The process of amendment to Schedule 1 to Customs and Excise Act, 1998 (Act No. 20 of 1998) has been completed and is expected to be gazetted on August 1, 2019. The new levies will come 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 money that shops have begun charging their customers are not part of the environmental levies as a result of the aforesaid forthcoming amendment to the Customs and Excise Act,” Shidhudhu concluded.
2019-07-26 11:33:44 26 days ago