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March 22, 2018

Kisii MCA's force supermarkets to offer free shopping bags to customers

Kisii Governor James Ongwae when he officially opened the Kisii County Assembly./ANGWENYI GICHANA
Kisii Governor James Ongwae when he officially opened the Kisii County Assembly./ANGWENYI GICHANA

Kisii MCAs on Tuesday approved a motion that will compel major supermarkets operating in the county to offer free carrier bags to consumers.

Members of the County Assembly questioned why the supermarkets that previously provided shopping bags for free before the plastic ban, had decided to suddenly pass the cost to the consumer.

Read; Plastic bags ban to halve pollution, but how will manufacturers, retailers cope?

 The sponsor of the motion Bomorenda MCA John Ombati said it was the responsibility of supermarkets to pack goods bought, at their cost and threatened to mobilize locals to boycott buying goods if the outlets fail to implement the proposed law.

He was supported by the leader of majority Timothy Ogugu who however urged the outlets to cost the bags in products sold.

Ogugu urged the County Government to empower youths to invest in the production of the carrier bags locally as opposed to sourcing the bags from Nairobi.

 A section of the MCA's h, however, opposed this move saying it will kill businesses.

Nominated MCA Eric Janganya opposed the move on grounds that businesses will be crippled if forced to be charitable.

He argued that it was not the responsibility of supermarkets to offer carrier bags since they are not the direct manufacturer of these products.

Also read: Kenyans still using plastic bags despite ban - NEMA

Janganya claimed that the goods are already packaged, and it was up to the consumer to plan for how to carry the items.

Janganya said several youths had ventured into the shopping bag packaging supply business and the move to have them given for free may paralyse that venture.

He was supported by Sensi MCA Paul Angwenyi who said the move to provide the bags for free will in the long term negatively affect economic growth in the county.

The majority view however carried the day with the motion receiving an overwhelming endorsement.

The onus now is on the County Government to move to implement by ensuring its enforcement.

Kisii County will become the third county after Uasin Gishu and Kisumu to force supermarkets to provide alternative free carrier bags following the ban on plastic bags.

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