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Economy

Firm seeks to be compensated for plastic bags ban

Plastic bags were banned to protect the environment. FILE PHOTO | NMG
Plastic bags were banned to protect the environment. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

A manufacturer has moved to court seeking compensation from the government following the ban on the use of plastic bags.

In a case filed Thursday, Hi-Plast further seeks an order to quash a gazette notice by the Ministry of Environment, banning the manufacturer and use of plastic bags.

The director of the company, Mahesh Dodhia says the ban has caused him losses, having invested heavily in machinery and raw materials as well as defaulted on loan repayments.

Mr Dodhia says in a sworn statement that the ministry should have at least engaged the stakeholders before imposing the ban, which would have helped mitigate the losses.

“The petitioner’s loans were to be repaid solely based on sales projection that were hinged on month on month output and sales of its products which are now deemed illegal,” the company’s lawyer Eddy Orinda said.

The firm also claims that the declaration of the ban and its implementation came after manufacturers were granted inadequate and unreasonable notice.

Hi-Plast accused the ministry of disregarding a parliamentary committee’s call for the shelving of the gazette notice leading to the ban.  

Last February, a gazette notice announced an end to the use, manufacture and importation of plastic bags for household and commercial packaging in Kenya from August 28.

Those in breach risk an imprisonment of up to four years or fines of up to Sh4 million with the manufacturers lobby saying the ban would cost 60,000 jobs and force 176 manufacturers to close down their businesses. 

Mr Dodhia further accused the ministry of abetting other manufacturers, whom he claimed continue to produce plastic bags.

He added that the ban seems to have been effected to prop up the businesses of friendly manufacturers, a move he terms discriminatory and malicious.

He stated that at time the Gazette Notice was published in March 2017, the company was in the process of shipping raw materials.

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