By Ruth Tene Natsa, Abuja
The Environmental Rights Action/ Friends of the Earth Nigeria and member organizations of the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA) have expressed concern over the federal government’s recent suspension of Green Taxation on Single-Use Plastics.
They cautioned that it will make Nigeria a dumping ground for plastic waste products.
Recall that the federal government through the office of the special adviser to the president on special duties, communication, and strategy, Dele Alake had recently announced the suspension of green taxation on single-use plastics, to commence June 1, 2023.
Alake had said the development is in line with President Bola Tinubu’s promise to address business unfriendly fiscal policy measures and multiplicity of taxes.
“Further to his commitment to creating a business-friendly environment, the President has ordered the suspension of the newly introduced Green Tax by way of Excise Tax on Single-Use Plastics, including plastic containers and bottles. In addition, the President has ordered the suspension of Import Tax Adjustment levy on certain vehicles,” Alake said
However, the ERA/ FoEN Executive Director, Chima Williams has said that the new development will only bring to fruition the ominous prediction that plastic products in the ocean will surpass the number of fish in the water by 2040.
According to him, the Nigerian government is supposed to enact policies that will put an end to the invasion of plastic on our oceans and water bodies, not promoting policies and laws that increase the production of more plastic.
In his words”At a time like this when the world is set on improving the consciousness of the public on the need to end the use of plastic, it is unfortunate that our president is increasing the importance of plastic products, when Nigeria is being ravaged by a plastic tsunami.”
“Nigeria is supposed to be signing a law that promotes the phase-out of plastic. This suspension may seem that the government is not committed to the implementation of the Paris Agreement on the reduction of the impact of climate change from the waste sector.”
He called on the government to deliberately program itself into a zero-waste society where no waste is generated, or all waste generated is seen as resources.
Also speaking on the issue, the ERA/ FoEN Project Officer of Waste Management, Melody Enyinnaya pointed out that ‘Green taxations’ are eco/environmental taxes, foisted on activities that pollute the environment, as Single-Used Plastics have become a major pollutant of the environment.
According to her, ‘Green taxation’ on SUPs incorporates the negative expanse of the adverse effects of SUPs on the environment and the idea surrounding green taxes is to increase production costs for corporations, thereby bringing about higher prices on plastics, which will have effect of discouraging consumers from purchasing them, further reducing their pollution rate on the environment.
“The key implication here is that this suspension will impede the efforts in reducing SUPs pollution, especially for a country like Nigeria that do not have effective policies guiding SUPs production, consumption and disposal.”
She urged the government to revisit the suspension of ‘Green taxation’ while considering the environmental and health implications of such policies. She further advised the government to look at developing legislative instruments like a withdrawal policy that will hold these corporations accountable for their product waste.
On his part, the Executive Director of Sustainable Research and Action for Environmental Development (SRADeV), Dr Leslie Adogame however opined that an outright ban is the solution to the production of plastic waste in Nigeria.
The Executive Director of Centre for Earth Works (CFEW), Benson Dotun Fasanya added that the suspension of green tax on plastics is an open door to a plastic tsunami in Nigeria, a statement by the Groups Communications officer, Elvira Jordan stated