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Government must support recycling sector – NARRA

The President of the National Reuse and Recyclers Association (NARRA) Eric Pappoe has disclosed that the absence of any tax incentive on the importation of equipment and machinery used in the waste collection and recycling industry in Ghana is a major barrier to the development of a viable waste collection, reuse and recycling business.

Speaking at a workshop for the introduction of appropriate fiscal policy interventions to stimulate sustained growth in the recycling sector of the national economy, Mr Pappoe said the high tariffs on such equipment and machinery are making the cost of doing business in this recycling industry very expensive and unattractive to investors as industrial actors are unable to invest in the required machinery and technology.

At the workshop help under the auspices of the Business Sector Advocacy Challenge (BUSAC) Fund Phase III, alongside the EU, USAID and DANIDA, he added that certain import tariffs on recycling equipment and machinery have become a major obstacle towards the growth and development of the recycling industry in Ghana with the situation further complicated by the bureaucracy involved in applying for tax exemption in a process that is heavily influenced by cronyism and political considerations.

“Feasibility study on plastic waste by the Centre for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in 2015, indicated that GHC1,200,000 can be generated in the country every a month, if plastics alone go through various stages towards recycling. The stages include collection, sorting and sale as raw material plastic waste recycling firms. More importantly each of these stages will generate thousands of employment for people engaged in the plastic waste value chain,” he said.

“Naturally, this should attract various forms of investments into the plastic recycling business in Ghana.  However, current taxes and administrative levies are a major disincentive to recycling firms and would be investors industry. The effect of this current fiscal regime for plastic recycling in Ghana, coupled with other relevant costs of doing business in the country combine to deny the Ghanaian economy of the enormous benefits that could be derived from a thriving plastic waste recycling industry in the country, he added.

He cautioned government and the public not to blame plastic manufacturers for the inevitable floods if nothing is done to desilt open drains and intensify the national campaign against dumping of waste in public.

“If, as a country, introduce appropriate fiscal policy incentives for the recycling industry and back it with adequate investment of resources in changing our bad littering habits through the implementation of properly planned and executed behaviour change communication strategies, we can go ahead and ban plastics and we shall still be bedeviled with our perential flood problems,” he said.

“It is important for government to take a critical look at its tax incentives on not only the plastic waste but also general waste recycling in Ghana as a mechanism to promote investment machinery needed for the  waste collection, reuse and recycling industry to help achieve government’s vison of industrializing Ghana under the one-District-one-Factory (1D1F) policy as well as enhance the economic value of waste in general to serve as a disincentive against public littering and boost  the waste  recycling industry as a viable means of curbing the  waste menace confronting the  country and turn it around to create jobs for our teeming unemployed youth,” he added.

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