By: Latifa Yusuf Masai
HARGEISA (Somalilandsun) – An appreciative state and citizenry shall pursue avenues of assisting companies affected by the plastic bag use order.
This was stated by the Somaliland first lady Ms Amina Sh Mohamed Jirde ‘Amina Weris’ during an inspection tour of the Raho plastic factory in Hargeisa which became the first to cease production of plastic bags following a ban order issued by president Ahmed Mahmud Silanyo.
The ban on plastic bags use in Somaliland was imposed by the head of state on the 15th April 2015 through a presidential decree #JSL/M/XERM/249-3178/042015 that also gave producers and importers a 120 Days stocks disposal grace period
The first lady and the high-powered government team she led including the ministers of planning, Environment and Industry Dr Saad Ali Shire, Ms Shukri Bandare and Shuaib Mohamed as well as the deputy mayor of Hargeisa Abdiaziz Mohamed ‘Agaweine’ was briefed before an inspection tour by the managing director of SETCO Group of Companies which is the parent firm to Raho plastic factory.
According to the SETCO managing director the decision by his firm to close down the Raho plastic factory thus becoming the first in the country to adhere to the presidential ban order regardless of the immense loss of investment was necessitated by a desire to help protect the environment in lieu of the synthetic bags having became a major cause of destruction.
Terming the decision by SETCO group to cease plastic bag production despite the colossal amount of investment the first lady said “a thankful government and people of Somaliland conscious of the profit based sacrifice made owners of Raho plastic factory and others shall pursue other avenues of gainful employment for both proprietors and employees”
Stressing on the importance of eliminating plastic bags as garbage destructive to the environment Ms Amina Weris said that other importers and producers should emulate the bold move by SETCO to while urging the parliamentary environmental committee to intensify nationwide awareness campaigns on the ills of synthetic bags
In unionism all members of the first lady led team who thanked SETCO for taking the courageous move to cease production of plastic bags notwithstanding the imminent loss of profits to owners as well as revenue to central coffers urged others to emulate Raho plastic factory before the end of imposed mid July 2015 deadline.
While stating that the Raho factory shut down was a painful occurrence for his ministry whose mandate is to promote local production as opposed to imports the minister of industry Shuaib Mohamed said that the cessation of synthetic bags use was a regrettable national priority for the good of citizens sanitation.
Stating that the ills accrued by citizens from plastic bags outweighs all other considerations The planning minister Dr Saad Ali Shire urged other producers and importers to adhere to the presidential decree thus eliminate the menace.
The minister of environment and rural development Ms Shukri Bandare who revealed that her ministry was the initiator of the synthetic bags elimination thanked the proprietors of SETCO for setting the way forward while commiserating with the sure to be realized loss of profits as well as staff lay-offs that she termed as a necessary evil in support of efforts to protect the environment.
According to the deputy mayor of Hargeisa Councillor Abdiaziz Mohamed ‘Agaweine’ the city local council shall utilize all means at its disposal to ensure that the presidential decree banning use of plastic bags is enforced
Finally the SETCO boss who took the first lady Amina Weris led team round the complex informed that the firm has strategies to recoup losses through intensive production by other subsidiaries of the group among them Raho Foam mattresses factory as well as Raho carton recycling factory
The government team charged with eliminating use of plastic bags in the country later met with the parliamentary environmental committee