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Where Is The Environmental Tax Cash?   
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While recycling companies are able to absorb only 20% of the plastic waste that has become an albatross around the country’s neck, government is yet to find uses for the 10% Environmental Tax -- and industrialists are wondering why.

According to the Finance Ministry, as at August 2015, some GH?44.3million had accrued from the tax that is imposed on imported plastic raw materials, but a Sanitation Fund into which the money is supposed to go is yet to be set up.

The matter took the greater part of a discussion session at a plastic waste-management seminar organised by the Association of Ghana Industries in Accra, with most attendees asking why the government would sit on the funds while the plastic-waste menace eats the country up.

“If it is not working, let us stop collecting the money,” said Magnus Nunoo, National President of the Sachet Water Producers Association.

Mr. Jürgen Meinel, Managing Director of City Waste Management LTD, expressed worry that while recycling companies are overwhelmed with the plastic-waste menace there is no indication from government as to what the tax money will be used for.

Responding to the concerns, Hendrick Dwommoh-Mensah of the Tax Policy Unit of the Finance Ministry said the tax money has been deposited into the Consolidated Fund because the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development is yet to set up the Sanitation Fund.

The response created a bit of an uproar in the room, as the visibly dissatisfied audience demanded ‘further and better particulars’ on the matter.

To move the discussion forward, a Vice President of the AGI, Humphrey Ayim-Darke, who chaired the function, moved and it was seconded that a task force be set up to pursue the matter till the money is put to its intended use.

Each of the stakeholder groups presented a representative for the taskforce, with the AGI as the coordinating body. Represented were the Ghana Plastics Manufacturers Association, the Sachet Water Producers Association, the Waste Recycling Groups, the Fast Moving Consumer Goods group, and the Environmental Service Providers Association, among others.

Currently, over twenty recycling companies are said to be in the system, recycling 120tonnes (120,000kg) of plastic daily -- which is only 20% of the enormous challenge.

Source: B&FT

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