In a press conference earlier today, Members of the Natural Resources Committee told journalists that the kaveera (plastic bags) ban would hold, at least in law as opposed to practice. The Finance Act, 2009, backed by the 2009/2010 budget, the government of Uganda announced a total ban on all polythene material below 30 microns as an environmental protection measure. The move, in line with the decision of East African Community member states to ban the plastic bags commonly known as kaveera, however the full implementation is yet to be achieved due to resistance from various players including the manufacturers.
Uganda was the 2nd country after Rwanda to ban the kaveera, Kenya has since followed suit. Kenya’s environment Secretary, Judi Wakhungu, recently outlawed the manufacture, import, sale and use of plastic bags.
The chairperson, Hon Byarugaba dispelled the rumors that Uganda was trying to absorb the banned kaveera manufacturers from Kenya. A report by Business Daily stated that Uganda was trying to woe disgruntled manufacturers from Kenya. Something the Uganda investment authority also denied in a press release.
He added that the rumor that the law would be amended was false and urged the National Environment Management Authority to seriously implement the ban. The committee also committed to support NEMA in the event that there is continued resistance. to be met. It was also revealed that 60% of Uganda’s kaveera imports came from Kenya and the halted supply would reduce the amount of kaveera in Uganda
Hon Aogon urged Ugandan kaveera manufacturers to replace the manufacture of the kaveera with other products. He added that most manufacturers produce other products and the loss from the kaveera is negligible. He also added that the ban without alternatives would be counterproductive and called for manufacturers of alternative material to start manufacturing to fill the demand.
Other issues the committee hinted on include; the non-renewal of the contract of Infratec on the Karuma and Isimba dams, the eviction of artisanal miners in Mubende and the suspension of the Executive Director (ED) and Deputy ED of the Rural Electrification Agency and its effect on electrification projects in the country.