Wednesday 30 September, 2020

Budget 2020: Styrofoam is out, water coolers are in

Government will ban the use of Styrofoam food containers within the local business industry from January 1, 2020.

The measure was announced by Finance Minister Colm Imbert in the national 2020 budget presentation in Parliament on October 7, 2019.

The measure had been previously stated by the Planning Ministry in 2018, who was arranging the final stages of legislation for launch this year. 

Imbert said the ban means local Styrofoam manufacturers will be required to include additives to make their products biodegradable.

"In our pursuit to attain our stated goal of placing the environment at the centre of national development, I propose to eliminate the use of Styrofoam and single-use plastics within the national economy.

"As an initial step, I propose to ban the importation of Styrofoam for use in the food service industry and to require manufacturers of food containers to introduce additives to make their products biodegradable."

Additionally, Imbert said government offices will switch out their plastic water bottles for water coolers, to reduce plastic usage. 

"In order to encourage behavioural change, I propose to terminate the use of plastic water bottles in Government offices and substitute them with coolers with filters. This measure will take effect on January 1, 2020," he said. 

Government has a mandate to ensure 10 percent of its energy output comes from renewable sources by 2021, as part of its Sustainable Development Goals (SGDs)

Here's an overview of the 2020 Budget Presentation:

1. Total Revenue $47.749 B (Based on US $60 per barrel, $3 MMBTU Oil Price), total expenditure of $53.036 billion.

2. Minimum wage increased from $15 to $17.50; URP, CEPEP workers and contractors to receive 15 percent increase.

3. No taxes on agricultural supplies/processing costs.

4. Projected oil revenue of $11.004 B, non-oil revenue: $35.795 B, capital Revenue: $0.95 B.

5. THA to receive overall allocation of $2.283 billion, $300M financing from government for local projects in historic first.

6. Tax removal on LED bulbs, 100% tax removal on solar water heating equipment.

7. Ban on styrofoam food containers from January 1, 2019 (removal of plastic water bottles in government buildings).

8. OJT stipends increased by 10 percent, number of OJT workers increased to 8,000

9. Tax allowance for creative industry increased from from $3.0 million to $6.0 million.

10. Pension for eligible daily paid workers at minimum of $3,500. 

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