An application filed by Importers and Small Traders Association of Kenya against the ban on Non-woven bags imposed by NEMA, has borne fruits as the High Court has temporarily suspended the ban for a pending hearing and determination of the case.
NEMA publicized a directive demanding petitioners to stop the use, manufacturing, importation, supply, and distribution of the non-woven polypropylene bags effective from March 31, 2019. NEMA Boss had declared that the government will not be merciful on the victims caught in a crackdown against the ‘‘very thin, poor quality non-reusable bags” as they risk being arrested, prosecuted and jailed.
In court, the traders argued that they had invested heavily in terms of capital through the acquisition of machinery, raw material and labour. They complained that NEMA’s directive is intended to be in force indefinitely as they did not indicate how long it will take for the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) to effect specifications on the gauge and quality of the non-woven carrier bags to be allowed in the market.
The court ruled in favour of the traders, ordering NEMA to suspend the ongoing crackdown on importers manufacturers and users of Non woven bags.
“The court be pleased to issue orders suspending the directive by the respondents stopping the use, manufacture, importation and supply /distribution of non-woven polypropylene bags effective from March 31, 2019, this year pending hearing and determination of the case,” read the orders issued
The non-woven bags were introduced to the market as their ability to be reused and disposed of safely as opposed to the conventional plastic carrier bags was in line with environmental conservation practises. Implementing of the ban was provoked by manufacturers whose greed to make profits flooded the market with poor quality, very thin and non-reusable bags contradicting NEMA’s principles.
Kenyans were already having a hard time abruptly transitioning into the use of locally made approved alternatives (Kiondos and baskets) to promote the industry as urged by Nema Boss.