Parliament greenlights charging MVR 2 from each plastic bag

Customers carry goods brought from a shop in plastic bags. (Sun Photo/Mohamed Naail Hussain)

Parliament, on Monday, has greenlighted bill mandating shops to charge for plastic bags which were previously given to customers for free, and handing over monies earned from the sale to Maldives Inland Revenue Authority (MIRA).

The bill which mandates charging MVR 2 from each plastic bag was approved with the votes of 54 MPs in attendance.

Waste Management Bill submitted by Komandoo MP Mohamed Rashid, on behalf of the government, is designed to

plan, operate and oversee waste management in a sustainable manner and set down regulations pertaining to waste management. As per the bill, all businesses must charge MVR 2 from customers when giving away plastic bags.

However, charges are exempt for some types of plastic bags.

Plastic bags that would be exempt from charges

  •         Plastic bags given at duty-free shops
  •         Unsealed plastic bags used for raw fish
  •         Unsealed plastic bags used for stapled foods
  •         Bundles containing 50 or more plastic bags
  •         Plastic bags sold to waste management authorities to be used for waste management purposes

As per the bill, charges should be enforced on plastic bags within a one-month period after the law comes into force. Receipts issued to customers must show that they have been charged for the plastic bag given. 

The bill also states that businesses registered for GST with MIRA must hand over monies earned from the sale of plastic bags to the authority.