Court clears NEMA to stop the manufacture of Plastic Carrier Bags

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Court has today cleared National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) to stop the manufacture of plastic carrier bags.

On 27th January, 2016, Uganda Plastics Manufacturers and Recyclers Association Ltd filed a suit against the enforcement activities by NEMA in relation to the banned plastics commonly known as ‘Kaveera’.

NEMA has won Kaveera manufacture ban case

NEMA has won Kaveera manufacture ban case

The Manufacturers and Recyclers seek the following from court;

I) a declaration from Court that NEMA’s entry and closure of factories engaged in manufacture of the same is arbitrary and illegal,

ii) A permanent injunction restraining NEMA and or its agents from closing and impounding the plastic products

iii) Punitive and general damages for inconvenience and loss of business.

On 29th January, 2016, the Manufacturers obtained an Interim Injunction against NEMA restraining NEMA from arbitrarily closing the manufacturers’ factories until an application for the interim injunction which was scheduled for 9th February, 2016 at 3:30pm was heard.

On 9th February, the matter was heard and a ruling was delivered today (February 25th 2016 at 12:00pm) by His Worship Ajiji Alex Mackay, Deputy Registrar, High Court, Civil Division.

In his ruling, His Worship Ajiji observed and appreciated that ; NEMA was an enforcement Agency and was mandated by the Finance Act 2009 to enforce the law on plastics.

The manufacturers can only produce permitted plastics as stipulated by law. Thus the only enabling law is the finance Act and regulations there under which should be further refined by NEMA.

His Worship stated that much as arbitrary closure was a threat, for the applicants to ask court to issue an interim injunction to restrain NEMA an enforcement agency from entering the factories to enforce the law was asking the courts too much at that stage.

He ordered that in the interim, NEMA should enforce the law as is and not carryout closure of factories outside the existing law.

What is the Implication of this?

The law remains in force and NEMA is mandated to continue with enforcement. For the manufacturers and recyclers, it is clear that they should abide by the law and stop manufacture and distribution of banned products. If in doubt, they should consult to avoid inconveniences.

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