Tunisian recyclers have held a sit-in to protest against the ban on the import and export of used tyres.
A group of rubber manufacturers and processors held an open sit-in in front of the headquarters of the General Directorate of Customs, to request the clearance of containers and trailers parked in Tunisian ports, which arrived in Tunisia before the customs decision to stop the import of used tyres.
The Group under the Confederation of Citizen Businesses of Tunisia (CONECT) asked the government to identify urgent solutions to enable these companies to obtain the necessary authorisations allowing them to resume their activity legally.
In a press release published in Tunis, CONNECT considered that the decision for the sit-in comes following the non-satisfaction of the supervisory authority on the requests of the Professional Group of Rubber Industrialists and Transformers.
For its part, the General Directorate of Customs indicated in a statement that the group can take legal action, given that it has carried out, as representative of the companies concerned, all the meetings and discussions necessary for this purpose.
For his part, the Chairman of the Group, Amir Ben Harb, stressed that rubber manufacturers and processors have been banned since August 2020 by the General Directorate of Customs, from exercising their activity, importing the raw material (used tyres) and exporting the stock they have.
According to Ben Harb, it is an administrative and unilateral decision that was taken by the former Head of the office of exporting companies at the General Directorate of Customs, following an environmental decision.
He added that the Customs Directorate had accused the companies of selling imported used tyres in the local market.
He also indicated that the group obtained, in January 2022, a document from the Ministry of the Environment proving that the import of used tyres does not require prior authorisation from the ministry, and that the latter is not affected by the prohibition.
Even the Ministry of Trade and Export Development has stressed the non-submission of this activity to prior authorisation, in particular after giving these companies an approval to invest in this area.
“The General Directorate of Customs has not kept its promises, particularly with regard to the resumption of the activities of these companies in May 2022, which has worsened the social and financial situation of these companies”, he said.
The group called for speeding up the examination of this complaint to preserve the rights of business leaders operating in the sector. Companies in the field of rubber processing have been established in Tunisia since 2006. They import used tyres for manufacture and export of end goods. The number of these companies has been reduced from 40 to 18 through the actions of the Customs Office.
Source: African Manager