KAM wants export zone firms exempted from polythene ban


EPZ firms display their wares at KICC in Nairobi . FILE PHOTO | NMG

Manufacturers are now calling for the plastic bag ban to be lifted on products from export processing zone (EPZ) factories, saying it is crippling sales.

The Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM) has written to the National Environment Management Authority (Nema) arguing that the ban should not apply to EPZ firms since the destination countries have their own environmental management policies.

“EPZ firms have made complaints that their exports (garments) are affected by the plastic bag ban because packaging is regarded as secondary packaging,” said KAM sector manager Samuel Matonda.

“The plastic bag packaging for a shirt for example — the see-through paper — that enables you to see what you are buying is banned, so exports have stalled.”

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The EPZ firms say this is resulting in loss of export revenue and foreign exchange income across many industries.

Sales of EPZ firms in the country hit Sh63.1 billion last year compared to Sh60.8 billion in 2015, according to the Economic Survey 2017.
Some 62 zones are privately-owned while three are publicly owned.

The petition by KAM to Nema on the EPZ products is among a host of other requests for exemptions made by the manufacturers to the environmental watchdog.