Fabian Demicoli

WEEE Waste Electrical And Electronic Equipment Directive

 "GRTU Malta Chamber of Small and Medium Enterprises will be taking legal action in the coming days if Government persists in denying our members their legitimate request to be exempt from Eco Contribution Payment on all Electrical and Electronic goods if they are members of an Authorised WEEE Scheme. Five years of waiting is far too long."

 

This was stated by GRTU Official Joe Attard during a packed meeting held for all producers currently registered with the Competent Authority as producers of such waste. After so many years Government still insists that it cannot do away with the current income of €8M currently being received through payment of Eco Contribution for placing such products on the market. The producers present were given a background of the discussions that took place in relation to the implementation this Legal Notice 63 of 2007, which obliges producers of EEE (Electrical and Electronic Equipment) to recover 4kg per capita through Schemes or through self compliance. So much time has passed that there has been a review of the Directive at European level and the WEEE recast now obliges a recovery of 65% of what is placed on the market, so from a target recovery of 1600 tons (for Malta), the producers now require a minimum recovery of 9000 tons.

The cardinal issue has always been the payment of Eco Contribution and Government's insistence that although there is a payment of Eco Contribution, producers also have to comply to Legal Notice 63 of 2007 through self compliance or through an Authorised Scheme, by also paying the Scheme to provide compliance.

GRTU has made its position very clear on this issue. Businesses are ready to pay once for their environmental obligations, and it stops there. Government at present is requesting a double payment, the payment of Eco Contribution and also providing the logistics for recovery, dismantling, treatment and final recycling of WEEE, through another financial contribution. This is not acceptable and will never be acceptable. We will stand our ground.

GRTU Official Joe Attard, explained that during a recent meeting with the Prime Minister, Dr Lawrence Gonzi and his special delegate Dr Simon Busutill, the subject was tabled for discussion and being a technical matter, the Prime Minister requested GRTU to write in detail to the same Prime Minister for related action to be taken. Until then one could see that there was some sort of a political will for a solution.

GRTU wrote to the Prime Minister as instructed, and accordingly the information was forwarded to the Ministry of Finance, Economy and Investment (MFIN) for a decision to be taken. During a meeting held between GRTU officials and MFIN, in the presence of Mr Peter Portelli, Permanenet Secretary OPM, and Dr Christopher Ciantar, Permanent Secretary at the Ministry for Resources and Rural Affairs, GRTU was advised that at present the Government cannot lose an income of €8M from Eco Contribution currently received from such goods, and as such there is no tangible way to implement exemptions from Eco Contribution so that businesses comply to their legal obligation through Schemes. These words were utterred despite the fact that during the same meeting, the Permanent Secretaries present brought to the attention of the Permanent Secretary MFIN, the fact that Malta is facing an imminent infringment notice from the European Community in respect to this European Directive.

GRTU will not take this any longer. We have stuck to the table of discussion for unending years. However since implementation of this Directive seems to be a forlorn wish, the matter was discussed by the National Executive Council of the GRTU and it was agreed that GRTU will take up the matter with the European Commission as a safeguard to protect enterprise owners from any negative impact of any infringment procedures that the Commission may take against the Maltese Authorities due to Malta's failure to meet its obligations under EU Directives, inspite of the Business Community efforts led by GRTU, to cause Government to establish the correct mechanisms that would make compliance possible.

On the local front GRTU will file a Judicial Protest in respect to the matter on behalf of its members and will await then to see whether there is the political will to solve this issue or whether this important environmental issue will only come second or third on the national agenda…

In the meantime GRTU advised its members and producers of WEEE present to send in their annual market placement as requested by MEPA, the Malta Environment and Planning Authority through on line registration until 1st June 2012, for basis year 2011. GRTU also advised its members present to copy to GRTU with the ‘acknowledgment' received from MEPA after the registration has been effected.

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