The Minister of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism Tshekedi Khama is in the dark over the failure by government to collect plastic levy from retailers.
Since its introduction in 2007, the plastic levy collection has proved a cumbersome exercise for the Ministry of Investment, Trade and Industry as the hard earned public money continue to lie idle in business outlets uncollected, eventually benefitting the business owners.
The failure to collect the levy recently re-emerged at the previous Public Accounts Committee (PAC) sessions when the Ministry of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism appeared before the Committee.
Member of Parliament for Gaborone North Haskins Nkaigwa this week took the matter with Khama asking if his Ministry has any plans to introduce plastic levy.
“It was initially, the intention of the Ministry to advise Government to introduce plastic levy. However during consultations with Botswana Unified Service and the Ministry of Investment, Trade and Industry we were advised that plastic levy collection would be complex to administer and may not serve the purpose for which it was meant,” the Minister said.
“On the basis of this advice, my Ministry resolved to ban carrier bags, a proposal which has been approved in principle. There is therefore, no plan to introduce the plastic levy. This notwithstanding, the National Strategy Office had requested for further consultations on the same which have not been conclusive up to now. It is our hope that a worthwhile solution emerges from the consultations, failing which my Ministry will press ahead with the ban,” Khama added.
Asked the reason the Government is still stuck with the process digging deep in the public pockets despite clear evidence of a complex exercise to sustain, Khama quipped: “Unfortunately such a task does not fall under our jurisdiction. The answer will certainly come from a different Ministry.”
The Minister is certainly referring to the Ministry of Investment, Trade and Industry.
Introduced to mainly fund environmentally friendly practices, it will appear the plastic levy is a dead in the water with monies accrued falling in the wrong hands and not serving the purpose meant for.
It is against this backdrop, Nkaigwa is calling for the scrap of the plastic levy policy. Starting from a paltry 25thebe, plastic levy per single package now costs 50thebe per bag.