MP Saleem pushes to reduce bag fee to MVR 0.50 ‘to ease burden’

Hoarafushi MP Ahmed Saleem. (File Photo/People's Majlis)

Hoarafushi MP Ahmed Saleem has submitted a bill to reduce the charge on plastic bags from MVR 2 to MVR 0.50.

Under the Waste Management Act passed in December, even if a bundle of plastic bags is bought at the wholesale rate, the purchaser will also be charged an extra MVR 2 per plastic bag.

The law came into effect in April.

During the debate on the bill on Tuesday, Saleem said it was likely the burden of the tax falls on the regular people. He said that the charge on plastic bags had come at a time when the country is struggling with a rise in prices of goods.

This resulted in a heavy burden on the people, he said.

Saleem, who chairs the Parliament’s Environment and Climate Change Committee, suggested amendments to solve the issues.

He proposed introducing a tax exemption of plastic bags – even those bought on wholesale – to pack fish and other such items, and to introduce a uniform tax that will not be an administrative burden on retail outlets and cafes.

“Thirdly, I propose reducing the charge per bag. I find it important to set MVR 0.50 per charge for the first time. Fourthly, double taxation on businesses must be abolished,” he said.

The Maldivian administration aims to make Maldives a zero plastic nation.