By LUKE KAMA
ONE of the companies involved in the importand manufacture of plastic shopping bags in the country has described the Government’s proposed ban as “premature and inappropriate”.
The ban on both non-biodegradable and biogradable plastic bags was announced on Monday by the Minister for Environment, Conservation and Climate Change John Pundari. He is giving a one-month grace period for everyone to fully comply with the ban.
Lams Trading Ltd, which has two environment permits to manufacture and import plastic shopping bags, yesterday raised its concern that the Conservation and Environment Protection Authority had not consulted permit holders about the ban.
General manager Tony Sham said the Government was “only trying to shift its failure of not implementing the regulation on the ban on the imports, manufacture and use of non-biodegradable plastic shopping bags effectively” since the regulation came into effect in 2014.
Sam said the announcement of the blanket ban on the import, manufacture and use of all plastic shopping bags came as a surprise to the industry and permit holders because they were never consulted nor given any notice of the ban.
“This is a premature decision reached through inappropriate approach of implementing the ban by a very responsible government agency, the Cepa,” he said. “You cannot just announce a decision to ban and give a one-month grace period because industries have invested a lot of money to purchase, import and build the plants here in the country.
“Also supermarkets in the country import shipments of plastic bags for period of six months for packaging.
“And when you look at a sudden ban with a one-month grace period, it doesn’t make sense in reality.”
He called on Pundari to discipline officers from Cepa for failing to implement the ban effectively since the regulation was introduced in 2014.
“The ban cannot be enforced alone by Cepa. They need to work together with PNG Customs Service, the Internal Revenue Commission, city council and town authorities, and provincial governments of each province,” Sam said.
Pundari said that companies wishing to import and manufacture plastic shopping bags will now have to pay a combined levy of K20 million.
By LUKE KAMA