KINGSTON — The Jamaica Exporters' Association (JEA) has come out in full support of the government's decision to put a temporary ban on the controversial scrap metal trade.
President of the JEA, Vitus Evans, addressing a press briefing at the organisation's Winchester Road offices in Kingston on Wednesday July 20, said that with the problem that the industry is facing “we certainly support the decision taken by the Minister to bring a halt to the trade until there’s proper regulation and to ensure that we don’t actually affect our own productive sector."
Industry, Investment and Commerce Minister, Hon. Dr. Christopher Tufton on Tuesday July 19 announced a temporary shutdown of the industry, which he described “as parasitic in nature as rogue dealers continue to infiltrate the trade feeding off legitimate businesses to survive”.
A number of businesses in the country’s productive sector, including agriculture and telecommunications, have suffered at the hands of unscrupulous persons, who steal genuinely good material to trade as scrap metal.
Mr. Evans said this abuse of the county’s productive sector cannot continue and that the ban should remain in place until the industry can be properly regulated.
“So, we hope that there will be proper regulation and that we will get back to a position where we can have a genuine trade in the export of scrap metal and that the industry itself can actually continue to grow, but by exporting genuine scrap metal, not to actually scrap things to export,” he remarked.
The JEA President said the scrap metal industry has been one of Jamaica’s major growth areas, with the industry raking in billions of dollars in exports over the last several years.
“Even a few years ago, exports of scrap metal were in an excess of $100 billion. However, that was at a time when what was being exported was genuine scrap metal,” he noted.
By ATHALIAH REYNOLDS, JIS Reporter