Dar es Salaam. The government has said there will be no further extension of the deadline for the total ban on plastics, rejecting a plea by manufacturers.
Environment minister January Makamba said yesterday wide consultations had been made, and enough time given for manufacturers to put their houses in order.
“We are not considering extending the deadline. All of them (manufacturers) were aware that total ban was coming but they kept importing goods and raw material for their industries,” the minister said.
He was responding to complaints by some manufacturers seeking an extension and citing losses to be incurred due to imported raw materials.
In an interview with The Citizen yesterday, Plastic Manufacturers Association of Tanzania (PMAT) chairman Mushtaki Waliji said the government should consider giving them six to seven months to sell imported and locally-manufactured products.
“Normally it takes three to four months to receive raw materials, consignments of raw materials that we ordered are already in transit,” he said.
But minister Makamba dismissed the reason given for an extension saying the manufacturers had asked for the same thing in 2016, and were granted their request.
He cited a letter from the Confederation of Tanzania Industries (CTI) with reference number CTI/17/7405/2016 and dated August 24, 2016 that sought extension of the deadline, which was slated for January 1, 2017.
“It is not fair that these people should seek extension of time after two years,” he said, adding that the government held several meetings with the industry representatives.
PMAT vice chairman Ahamed Abdallar said they would meet and issue a collective statement “as soon as possible”.
A policy specialist with the Confederation of Tanzania Industries (CTI), Mr Frank Dafa said the government should consider ways to help plastics players switch to other investments.
Agenda for Environment and Responsible Development program officer Silivani Mng’anya said the government should not only ban the use of plastic bags, but also go beyond and ban plastic bottles.
Journalists’ Environmental Association of Tanzania (JET) executive director John Chikomo told The Citizen that the ban was a major score for the country and the association.
“We are happy that the government has heard our long time cry; this is a great breakthrough for the environment,” he said.