Gov’t Moves to Monitor Scrap Metal Trade

The Government of Jamaica will be implementing control mechanisms for the export of scrap metal, including a licensing regime to bring accountability to the industry.
Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Karl Samuda, in a statement to the House of Representatives on (Oct. 23), announced that a Ministry Paper will be tabled in the Lower House outlining the measures to be used by the Government to address this issue.
The Government’s intervention in the trade, he said, is to protect lives and properties.
“We are receiving reports of unprecedented levels of metal theft. Valuable functional metal objects are being stolen. We have reports that parts of bridges are being stolen, manhole covers, railway lines, and the theft of copper cable has now made Cable and Wireless a prime target,” Mr. Samuda pointed out. He noted that “while legitimate exports of scrap metal can have obvious economic and environmental advantages, the high levels of reported theft are unacceptable. The theft of metals from public and private infrastructure constitutes a major economic loss to the country, and consequently undermines the country’s economic development.”
Citing statistics from the Jamaica Exporters’ Association, which indicates that exports of scrap metal moved from US$13.3 million in 2005 to US$99.58 million in 2006, the Industry Minister said: “If these figures are accurate it would mean an increase of over 600 per cent in a single year. This is phenomenal growth by any standards, but there is a cloud hanging over this sector.”
He noted that the theft of metal is being driven by strong demand for metals in China and India.

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