Several media outlets including Uganda’s leading Dailies: Daily Monitor and NewVision, run stories on Government removing the ban the polythene bags. These reports were however denied by National Environmental Management Authority [NEMA], the body handling and implementing the ban.
However NEMA said that the total ban on the importation, local manufacture, sale or use of polythene carrier bags excludes packaging materials used for food stuffs such as bread and milk products, exports, for medical and industrial use. This to many has been a contradiction.
Yesterday, Hon Anywar Beatrice, woman representative for Kitgum District, passionately expressed her disdain for Government, by asking the Speaker to order Government not to lift the ban.
“I do not understand why government, more so the executive chooses to disrespect parliamentary decisions, as a parliament of Uganda, we pronounced ourselves on the Kaveera ban, the law was passed, but recent media reports show that the Executive directly undermined this decision.” said MP Anywar
NEMA started implementing the ban on polythene bags, effective April 15 this year. The ban was first implemented in June 2007, when government first slapped a ban on the importation, use and production of polythene bags of 30 microns and below, which are usually very thin. But this did not last long as NEMA was overwhelmed by the manufacturers.
Government also imposed an excise tax of 120% on the importation of all polythene bags. Despite this, traders still smuggle polythene bags into the country as the environmental watchdog NEMA looks on.
Will this enforcement by NEMA be effective?
The woman representative went ahead to showcase the different paper bags, sisal bags that many Ugandans are now producing as alternatives for carrying their foods and shopping.
MP Anywar further went on and asked the minister for information not to put Ugandans out of jobs by uplifting the Kaveera ban, saying that “they should let Ugandans earn a living through different handicrafts that can be used.’ Speaker Kadaga, who was chairing the house tasked the minister to respond to the media allegations.
Information Minister Jim Muhwezi responded to MP Anywar by clearing the air, he stated that: Government had not lifted the ban on Kaveera, he also informed the house that it was a mistake in his statement that had been misunderstood by the media.