Govt should lift kaveera ban - manufacturers

The Uganda Manufacturers’ Association [UMA] has asked the government to lift the recent total ban on polythene bags [Kaveera] production citing big capital investment loss, unemployment and revenue loss to the national treasury.

UMA Chairman, Mr Kaddu Kiberu, said the government took a harsh decision to ban kaveera production (polythene bag) yet it’s not the absolute solution to the environmental degradation question.

“We have scheduled a meeting with the government over the buveera ban issue to see the veto lifted. It’s our concern that the ban will render several people jobless, affect investments and encourage smuggling,” Mr Kaddu said while touring Luuka Plastics Ltd, a local manufacturing plant of flexible packaging material at Kawempe, Kampala District last week.
He said the problem was not the production of Kaveera but the disposal by the end user and not the producer.

“The solution would be sensitising the masses on how to manage the kaveera than banning its production because neighbouring countries like Kenya are producing it and they are being smuggled to Kampala,” the Chairman said.
According to the plant Managing Director, Dr Badru Muwanga, the ban once implemented will render half the $3 million [about Sh6.5 billion] plant investment useless and over 80 employees’ cut-off.
“Fifty per cent of our investment will remain idle and it’s against this background that we take legal actions against the government to compensate us,” Mr Muwanga said.

Currently, the plant produces about 30 tonnes of polythene bags and has put-up a plastic recycling plant.
Last year, the government banned the production of kaveera below 30 microns and imposed a 120 per cent tax on other plastic products. The government this year passed a total ban on kaveera demonstrating yet dissatisfaction among manufacturers since no consultations were carried out. About 15 companies and over five factories are recycling.

UMA Executive Director Mr Gedeon Badagawa said several companies were set to close down and relocate their machines to Kenya and other countries.
“Many manufacturers are contemplating for that [leaving the country] and invest else where. In Kenya it’s free to produce kaveera and they are welcoming investors,” Mr Badagawa also the Director of Policy Advocacy at the Uganda Private Sector Foundation said.

The manufacturers insist that the ban causes enormous losses to the plastic sector, where some solely dependant industries will close down and create a smugglers bonanza. “One wonders what a nightmare it would be with the expanded focus resulting from the total ban. One can’t even expect cooperation from the East Africa Community since action was unilateral,” Hajj Badru Muwanga - another kaveera producer said.

Source: Robert Mwanje, Daily Monitor, Wednesday July 8, 2009;