Address firms’ concerns
As expected, the coming into force of the ban on plastics has had profound impact on many businesses – taking with it hundreds of jobs. That is why Kenyans expected the environmental watchdog to come up with clear regulations and processes to lessen the pain for stakeholders, some of who are facing grievous business consequences.
That does not appear to have happened. Manufacturers have complained that the National Environment Management Authority (Nema) is executing the ban on plastics with a lot of opacity, complicating the compliance terrain.
Last week, Nema asked all manufacturers, importers and users of primary packaging materials to obtain clearance letters in order to continue in operation. However, companies say the process is complex and vague and has forced many manufacturers to temporarily stop operations. Caught in the middle is the poor consumer, who may not understand the difference between primary and secondary packaging materials.
Some of the household products affected by the ban include salt and maize flour. Farmers will also be hit hard as fertiliser packs fall among products whose making has stopped, pending settlement of the differences.
Both the consumer and economy stand to lose unless the issues raised by manufacturers are addressed as soon as possible.
Caught in the middle is the poor consumer