Polluters pay environmental tax
The Namibia Environmental Investment Fund (EIF) announced it is in the process of introducing a punitive environmental tax on 13 products identified as water and air pollutants. This tax is to be introduced in consultation with the Ministry of Finance.
It is estimated that this tax will generate N$60 million for Environmental Investment Fund’s own sustainability fund. The fund said this week a long-term sustainability plan requires building a steady stream of income to fund its activities in other projects, implying that the income will be derived from products which can not easily change their polluting qualities.
Public consultation on these levies will start in December and continue to February next year. The EIF has over the last two years received about N$18 million in funding from the government.
The EIF said it is prioritising high impact projects or businesses in the areas of green technology, waste management and sustainable industrial practices.
“To be more precise we want to target sectors that have the potential to transition Namibia to greener means of production. Waste recycling and value addition to recycled waste, renewable energy integration and water efficiency technologies are just some of the areas that best demonstrate this sustainability” Lazarus Nafidi, Head of Corporate Affairs at the Environmental Investment Fund of Namibia said.
“Through levying these products it could potentially raise close to N$60 million per annum which is income that the EIF hopes to reinvest into implementation and developing alternative and sustainable products” the EIF spokesperson said.
The Green Concessional Loan is an investment product offered, both for the EIF and for the borrower, and has potential returns and risks attached to it. “We first and foremost assess the viability of a green project or business plan weighing up the environmental impacts and socio-economic issues it addresses. And as any lending institution is required by law we look at the ability for the individual or business to pay back the loan and interest.”
Nafidi said available financing to the EIF is limited at the moment, it being a young institution. “As we are approaching the end of the year, more projects will receive similar funding.”
The EIF also offers grants as non-investment products that do not carry repayment obligations.
“We look at disbursing these to projects that exhibit benefits that would impact on the environment and people’s livelihoods. For this reason we target mainly projects in rural and peri-urban areas that are ring fenced around value addition to natural resources, research and training and eco-tourism.” Nafidi said.
One of the projects funded is the Okahandja-based Greenfields Organic Fertilizer which has received N$4million.
“Greenfields was from chosen as a result of an assessment process that considered 8 highly competitive projects. After a careful and thorough appraisal that looked at socio-economic impacts, environmental impacts and high financial return, Greenfields ticked all those boxes for the EIF to consider the project for a Green Concessional Loan.” The Fund is also positioning itself to be the choice host for local and international projects and funds for which it envisages to obtain administration fees. Projects successfully hosted thus far are the Benguela Current Large Marine Ecosystem project , the Game Products Trust Fund and Kalahari Namib project. “We are also working on accessing the continuous stream of international funds dedicated to climate financing such as the Green Climate Fund” he said.