There is a high possibility that Cabinet may review the Environmental Levy charge of $25 dollars on used Tyres, according to Minister for Economic Development, Planning, Trade, Cooperatives and International Business, Oliver Joseph.
Addressing members of the media at the weekly post-Cabinet briefing held at the Ministerial Complex on Tuesday, Minister Joseph said although the importers understand the importance of paying the Levy, they believe $25 dollars is too much.
Importers of used tyres met last week Tuesday with government officials including representatives from the Ministry of Finance to discuss the new charge.
“What was very clear in the meeting, they (importers) recognised the fact that they need to clean up the environment and were willing to contribute to that. So they do not mind a charge on the used tyres.
“What they were concerned about is the amount, the $25 but everyone in the meeting made recommendation of some figure, some came in at $10, some came in at $15 so that was very encouraging.
The senior government minister who is the elected Member of Parliament for St. David said the tyre importers have recognized that they need to contribute to the cleaning up of the environment.
He added that it is the intention of the Ministry of Finance to take into consideration the suggestions coming out of the meeting.
“So what the Ministry of Finance will do now is to take into consideration all the views of the tyre importers and then make a recommendation to Cabinet for the consideration. So you would see some movements in the environmental levy of $25 that’s charged now on used tyres”, he said.
Government has said that the environmental levy was imposed on used tyres to help with the cost of controlling the environmental as one of the measures coming out of the Structural Adjustment Programme.
According to Minister Joseph, the government decided to impose the levy on the tyres in light of the recent Chikungunya situation on the island.
“You will recall with the outbreak (of) Chikungunya, there was a big outcry of the damage that tyres were doing because of the mosquitoes and people were calling on the Government to take action to deal with the environment”, he said.
“…Well dealing with the environment cost a lot of money. Now the Environmental Levy goes specifically to the environment, its not part of a Consolidated Fund (collection) like in other words when you raise taxes you put it in the Consolidated Fund, you use it but with the levy it goes specifically to the purpose for which it is stated,” he added.
Minister Joseph pointed out that the money collected from the Environmental Levy would help meet the cost of cleaning the environment.
“You have thousands of used tyres coming in, when it is discarded somebody has to clean it up. You have the Solid Waste Management Authority; they are responsible for cleaning up the environment”, he told reporters.
“…They take it to Perseverance. Sometimes when it’s burning you can’t even drive through there with the thick smoke and that’s not the best way to dispose of tyres and when you leave it around, and they collect water and create mosquitoes it’s a real health problem,” he said.
The introduction of the levy on the imported used tyres have already begun to affect vehicle owners.