PORT MORESBY, 23 JANUARY 2020 (THE NATIONAL) — Businesses need more dialogue with the Papua New Guinea Government to discuss specifics of the plastic ban, which comes into effect from 01 Feb 1, says the Port Moresby Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Chamber president Rio Fiocco told The National that the Government had refused to hold proper talks with businesses and stakeholders on the issue.

“(It) means there is some confusion among many as to what the new regime will actually be,” Fiocco said.

“No one knows what the appropriate materials, specifications and definitions of reusable bags are going to be allowed or not allowed.”

Fiocco said they had been told that from 01 March, bags should meet certain requirements “which potentially means there could be more, rather than less, environment impact”.

“There is no policy in place to tackle the real issue which is to encourage and educate our people to reuse and properly dispose of used bags and packaging waste as a whole,” he said.

“In fact, to date, there has been no legislation to enact any of the policy changes mooted by the department responsible, only media advertisements which of course carry no legal force.

“So technically, the Government will be in breach of its legal obligations to various legitimate licence holders who have paid many years of license fees.”

Fiocco said plastic bag manufactures would lose money.

“Businesses need clear, consistent and constructive Government policies. In their absence, they cannot have the confidence to invest new capital in new manufacturing processes,” Fiocco said.

“These could become redundant when the Government changes its policies again without any proper concern for the businesses’ legitimate interests, all of which cause monetary as well as job losses.

“Import costs will be significantly higher as will costs to the consumer since retailers are unlikely to be able to give them away free of cost as they are currently able to do with single-use plastic bags, said Fiocco…(PACNEWS)