President ratifies bill to begin charging MVR 2 from plastic bags

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

President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, on Sunday, ratified the Waste Management Bill which will mandate 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 submitted by Komandoo MP Mohamed Rashid on behalf of the government was passed by the parliament in the 43rd sitting of its third session held on November 28th.

The bill 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.

Following ratification, the law is now in effect and has been published in the government gazette.