Environmental sustainability and climate change advocates have called on government to introduce a new tax on the importation of plastics.
They said such a move would be in response to growing concerns over the environmental impact of plastic waste, particularly on human and animal health. It will also discourage the use of plastic and promote more sustainable alternatives, as the tax will be levied on all imported plastic materials and will be enforced through Customs regulations.
The experts included security and real estate consultant and president of the Leonard Group of Companies, Franklin Leonards; John Appiah, President-African Chamber of Youth; Jacqueline Dufie Mpare, Head-Agency Banking at Ecobank Group; and Akin Rotimi, Member-Elect, Federal House of Representatives, Nigeria made the recommendation during a stakeholder workshop dubbed ‘Change Africa Project’ (CAP). Held in Accra, it was themed ‘Building a formidable continent through a resourceful network’.
Mr. Leonards stressed that plastic waste poses a significant threat to the environment, contributing to pollution and harming wildlife. Therefore, by imposing a tax on imported plastics government will promote the use of more sustainable materials, reduce plastic waste menaces and promote the circular economy.
“Through the imposition of such a discrete tax on importation of plastics, government is taking a proactive step in promoting environmental sustainability and reducing the environmental impact of plastic waste. It is important that government encourages all stakeholders, including businesses and citizens, to join in this effort to drive progress toward a more sustainable future,” he said.
They proposed that the tax be applied to all types of plastics, including packaging plastics, bags, containers and other plastic products, and be calculated based on the weight, type and quality of the plastic product in question.
By slapping a tax on plastics, they said, government will raise awareness of the environmental impact of plastics and encourage individuals and businesses to adopt more sustainable practices.
The panel however maintained that the revenue generated through this special vehicle must be used to address challenges caused by plastics, and create jobs within that value chain.
“Maintenance is a key factor, even if we import state-of-the-art equipment to control the plastic menace and funding for the maintenance of this equipment is not made available, we will soon be back to where we were. This has been a challenge most of the time, so when we can create a funding stream to help with the maintenance we are good to go, and instituting such a tax regime will be of great support,” Mr. John Appiah of the Africa Chamber of Youth stated.
The CAP and Conference, South Africa-2023, is a flagship initiative to assemble Africans in the diaspora and at home on cultural exchange, social protection, social protection discussion, and implementation of some workable projects on the continent.
The president of IFED Global – the organising entity, Acheampong Tutu, emphasised that the organisation in partnership with Kariega Youth Development Centre and the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality in South Africa is poised to make a significant impact on the African continent through strategic initiatives.