Uncertainty surround plastic waste fund – is it GH¢724m or GH¢909m?
Mr Ebbo Botwe, the President of the Ghana Plastic Manufacturers Association has said a fund set up in 2011 for plastic waste management has accrued a total of GH¢724 million as at March 2018, but the sector Minister says differently.
He said the money which was formerly 20 per cent taxation on all plastic products, and upon amendment of the Act that established it in 2015, was reduced to a 10 per cent taxation, has not been used for any plastic waste management.
He said the money was collected into the consolidated fund, and that the nonexistence of a Legislative Instrument (Li) to set up an independent fund authority to distribute the money for plastic waste management is solely responsible for the unaccounted money.
Mr Botwe who doubled as the Chairman of the Plastic Waste Management Program Ghana and was speaking at the second Annual General Meeting of the Environmental Service Providers Association (ESPA) demanded the release of the money by government to enable the organization control the use and add value to plastics in Ghana.
“We decided and suggested to government that it should set up a special tax called ‘add value tax’, which was 20 per cent, and this was imposed on sachet water, plastic water, and plastic production, that was from 2011, and the idea was to set up a fund that will sustain plastic management”, he said.
“From 2011 to 2015, that fund accrued over GH¢44.3 million, all this money was being kept in the consolidated fund, I quote the figures from Dr Edward Larbie Siaw, a Tax Policy Advisor at the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning”, he added.
He said the objective was to have a sustainable financial resource to tackle the plastic menace by establishing a plastic waste recycling fund, providing financial support to agencies and institutions involved in plastic waste management, and provide supplementary funding to plastic waste management companies in Ghana.
“The fund would have also provided support to plastic waste collector to undertake plastic waste collection programs, put up at least 50 per cent of the fund into plastic recycling, and to support and finance the operations of members of ESPA. All this was according to the amended ACT 863 in 2015”, he noted.
However, Mr Kofi Adda, the Minister for Sanitation and Water Resources says as at September 2016, a total of GH¢909 million has been collected but that money cannot be accounted for.
He said the money has been collected over the years and that; “unfortunately where the money is gone to, cannot be traced by government”.
He said the ministry of Finance initially was not aware of the missing fund when the matter was brought up for investigations.
M Adda said that the Ministry of Finance was now putting mechanisms in place to make sure that if the money was collected, it goes into a specific account meant for sanitation.