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ISLAMABAD: The government is expected to announce tax relief measures in the budget (2022-23) on the import of equipment for recycling projects for moving towards sustainable packaging and a truly “circular economy”. It is reliably learnt that the government is considering measures to eliminate packaging waste through fiscal measures to be introduced in the coming budget.

Budget 2022-23 proposals have been chalked out for promoting collection and recycling of plastic waste for greener Pakistan, they maintained.

The budget proposals of the packaging alliance are under serious consideration of the budget markers for incorporation in the next Finance Bill 2022, officials added.

According to a communication of Waqar Ahmad, chief executive officer CoRe (Collect and Recycle) to Finance Minister Miftah Ismail on Wednesday, the CoRe (Collect and Recycle) is the first packaging alliance in Pakistan formed with the mission to eliminate packaging waste by enabling formal collection and recycling. The CoRe’s vision is to create a circular economy by reducing packaging footprint through sustainable and innovative practices. It

is registered under section 42 of the Companies Ordinance 1984 with the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP).

According to the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), more than 3.3 million tons of plastic are discarded each year in Pakistan. The country is challenged by a lack of formalised collection and recycling infrastructure.

The challenge is complex and requires collective action.

Import ban doesn’t apply to industrial inputs: ministry

Waqar stated that the CoRe came into being as a result of efforts by like-minded organizations, as there was a realization that the issues of eliminating packaging waste require collective and coherent efforts by all the stakeholders. On its part CoRe has committed to make 100 per cent of our packaging recyclable or reusable by 2025.

The Board of Directors include members from the FMCG sector, packaging companies and NGOs: Coca-Cola, METRO, Nestlé, Packages, PepsiCo, SDPI, SPEL, Tetra Pak, Unilever, and WWF.

Other notable members are Ecolean, Engro Polymer and Chemicals, FrieslandCampina, Green Earth Recycling, ICI, TOTAL PARCO, UNDP, etc.

He stated that the government has an important role to provide a policy framework and an enabling environment to promote sustainable and innovative practices in addressing the challenges of plastic waste to ensure a better future.

The CoRe alliance is already in touch with the Ministry of Climate Change, however, we believe that Green Financing will also play a very important role in enabling efficient collection and recycling infrastructure.

Chief Executive Officer CoRe proposed the availability of Green Financing by the State Bank of Pakistan to promote waste collection and recycling and low-interest rate as provided to the solar energy sector.

It has been proposed a five-year tax holiday for new and existing collection and recycling projects. (Packaging Recovery Organizations) and exemption of sales tax and zero tariff regime for import of equipment for recycling projects.

The government has been requested to abolish/reduce duty for Reverse Vending Machines for the collection of plastic packaging waste.

Waqar was optimistic that the CoRe Alliance sees budget 2022-23 as an opportunity to introduce financial measures that will help Pakistan move towards sustainable packaging and a truly circular economy.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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