Malawi’s poverty profile will be affected with 5,000 families suffering job loses of the bread winners as plastic manufacturers are to effect job cuts following the ban of plastic bags whose thickness is less than 60 microns.
Malawi banned production, importation, distribution and use of plastic bags in April 2013, but enforcement has been a problem because manufacturers challenged it in court despite government giving them a two-year breather to prepare for the prohibition.
The chairperson of the Plastic Manufacturers Association, Vijay Kumar, said : “Closing of companies is bad for the economy because in the end you penalise thousands of innocent people and that has huge impact on the economy. If you find something wrong the best is a fine.
“Government needs to implement this step by step while ensuring that there is dialogue going on with the industry on the matter,” said Vijay.
Rainbow Plastic managing director Abdul Majid Sattar said they brought into the country new machines for producing the 60 microns plastic bags.
Other companies such as Polypack, Easypack and OG Issa have also bought the new machines.
The manufacturers have said more than 5 000 people in the country would lose their jobs following the ban.
Malawi government is likely to lose about 10 to 15 percent annually in revenue from thin plastic paper sales if it maintains the ban imposed on manufacturers.
The ban is a critical global environmental issue because the plastic papers are difficult to dispose of and hazardous to health with environmentalists recommending use of paper bags, cloth bags and sisal bags as an alternative because they can be reused and are biodegradable.