Uganda target Kenya plastic bags firms

Uganda is secretly wooing disgruntled Kenyan plastic bags manufacturers to relocate to Kampala following a total ban in the country.

In a letter sent to Kenyan plastic bags manufacturers entitled ‘‘Investment Opportunity in Plastic Sector’’, Uganda says there is big growth opportunity in the country for manufacturers of quality packaging material.

“We have laws to protect and allow investors to repatriate their profits as they deem fit. Likewise, their expatriate staff can come in easily,” says the letter authored by the Uganda Investment Authority (UIA).

A Kenya Gazette notice signed by Environment secretary Judi Wakhungu outlawed the manufacture, import, sale or use of plastic carrier bags in Kenya.

The ban has caused loss of thousands of jobs as manufacturers suspended operations to avoid steep fines stipulated under the law.

Makers of alternative carrier bags are, however, doing booming business, while supporters of the new law cite its potential to check environmental pollution by the non-biodegradable plastic bags.

Usage of the bags now attracts a fine of up to Sh4 million or a two-year jail term.