Groups demand the over GHC100 million accrued from environmental tax

File: GMB’s Esi [2nd L] in a clean up exercise with some traders at Abura Market in Cape Coast[/caption]The Ghana Plastic Manufacturers Association and the Environmental Service Providers Association have asked the government to release the over GHC100 million accrued under the Environmental Excise Tax since it was established in 2013. “One and a half years ago, our enquiries at the Ghana Revenue Authority and Ministry of Finance indicated that we had paid in over 45 million Ghana Cedis,” Mr Daniel Yaw Mensah Tornyegah, Executive Secretary of GPMA said on Late Edition on 3FM hosted by Alfred Ocansey. He was speaking on the occasion of the 2017 World Environment Day and World Ocean Day, which fell on Monday June 5 and 8. “Today, the Environmental Excise Tax has risen significantly to 100 million Ghana cedis, but none of it has been used for the purpose for which it was intended for,” he said. The tax was intended to be a sustainable way of raising funds for use of companies involved in creating a sustainable atmosphere and development of the right industry to help in the recycling of plastic waste and collection in the country. Act 863 of the Customs and Excise Duties Act of 2013 was amended to among others, “to review the environmental excise tax on plastic and plastic products and to provide related matters.” Under Section 3 of the Act said: “the revenue accruing under paragraph 2 shall be dedicated to recycling of plastic waste and production of plastic waste bins and production and use of biodegradable plastics.” Mr Tornyegah said per the law it is the ministers of Finance, and Local Government and Rural Development who have to make the decision. “But as we speak, the money is just sitting in the Consolidated Fund, as we have been told; just sitting there. We need to have this money out there supporting environmental management strategies and above all educating people about the dangers that plastic is posing to both human beings and marine life,” he argued. He admitted the massive negative impact plastic and plastic products have caused and still impacting to the environment, and urged the new Ministries of Inner City and Zongo Development and Environment, Science and Technology to act swiftly to realize the vision of the President to make Accra the best in the sub-region. Ama Ofori-Antwi, Executive Secretary of the ESPA could not confirm the exact amount that has been collected so far, but said it was important for the authorities to ensure that the fight against plastics is executed in a timely fashion. Callers into the programme were astounded that after collecting several millions of cedis, government is still unable to devise sound means of disbursing it to companies, non-governmental organizations to get onto the ground to start a vigorous collection of plastics in drains and the beaches. Available data indicates that plastic waste constitutes about 17 per cent of solid waste generated in Ghana and translates into 510 metric tons of plastic waste generated in Accra alone on a daily basis. Figures from the Accra Plastic Waste Management Program indicate that 120 metric tons of plastics are recycled daily in Ghana. This figure includes about 40 per cent of empty sachet water plastics in Accra. However, most of these plastics recycling companies are operating on small scale and would be able to expand their operations with great support. The Accra Compost Plant at Adjen Kotoku in the Greater Accra Region turns plastic wastes into pellets and sold to plastic manufacturing companies that also recycle the pellets into plastic products including litter bins, bowls, chairs, and tables. Managers of Zoompak, a subsidiary company of waste management giant, Zoomlion have also opened a new waste transfer station at Achimota in the Greater Accra Region in addition to two others operated by the Accra Metropolitan Assembly. By Gideon Sackitey|3FM 92.7|]]>

READ ALSO:  Gov't is still at the closing stage of AirtelTigo deal - Ursula