The government will not rescind its decision to ban the use of plastic bags despite a petition filed by the Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM).
Environment and natural resources Cabinet Secretary Prof Judi Wakhungu told legislators that the September deadline is still on as earlier planned.
Appearing before the departmental committee on lands and natural resources, Wakhungu said that her ministry has in the last 15 years been trying to deal with the menace but it has not been successful.
She accused KAM of being dishonest in their petition, pointing out that for over 15 years, the association and its umbrella body Kenya Private Sector Alliance(Kepsa) have been dishonest in their engagements and all the groups have been doing is use delaying tactics.
Further she noted that the assertion by the petitioner that the six month notice given to plastic industry players is too short adding that it does not hold water .
She said: “We are ready to roll out the ban, six months is enough time for KAM to find an alternative. The benefit outweighs the disadvantages.”
Wakhungu who found herself hard-pressed over whether she followed the right procedures before gazeting the new rules dismissed the allegations by KAM saying that once the new rules come to place over 600,000 people would lose their jobs.
She said: “The six month notice is based on the fact that there had been prior engagements with the plastic sector since 2005, when the government first attempted to ban the use of plastics in the country. We have involved various stakeholders in the conversation.”
Committee members present, although they supported the new move they told Wakhungu that she has to follow the required procedures before issuing any gazette notice.
The committee Vice Chair person Alex Kosgey(Engwen), challenged Wakhungu to table evidence that the ministry has had discussions with stakeholders in the plastic industry.