Ministry Ready to Facilitate Activities in Scrap Metal Industry


Industry, Investment and Commerce Minister, Karl Samuda, has said that the Ministry is ready to facilitate activities in the local scrap metal industry, based on certain objectives which have been met.
Addressing journalists at a media briefing at the Ministry’s New Kingston offices on July 17, Mr. Samuda said that 50 of the 63 licensed traders engaged in exports, have brought their operations in line with stipulated requirements to facilitate inspections by customs officers. These requirements include: ensuring secure perimeter fencing of the property; provision of facilities to accommodate officers conducting inspections; and a safe environment in which to conduct inspections.
“We are going to be inspecting (their businesses), and (if) we find (any) deficiency, if they (remaining traders) don’t bring it (facilities) up within a certain time, then we will have them removed from the list of traders. So, it is incumbent on them to take the necessary steps to ensure (this),” Mr. Samuda outlined. He added that the operations of traders, not yet up to the requisite standard, are expected to meet the requirements by the end of July.
Other objectives, which the Minister said have been achieved, are the removal of scrap metal which had accumulated along sections of Spanish Town Road and at the Riverton Landfill, where a three-site export facility is being established; the number of customs officers, who will conduct inspections, has been increased from six to 20; and the training of officers and exporters in the handling and management of scrap metal.
The Minister advised that the cost of the increased inspection of scrap metal operations to be undertaken by the Customs department as well as the provision of security, would be underwritten by sector stakeholders, adding that continuous monitoring of industry would be carried out regularly to ensure that “they (traders) are maintaining the standards.”
Mr. Samuda said plans to create one central site in St. Catherine for exports had fallen through, due to environmental consideration and associated costs, among other factors. Noting that the idea has not been abandoned, the Minister said the plan would remain on the drawing board until those challenges are worked out.
“We (Government) are here to facilitate business, not to impede business. We just want people to understand that the primary objective is to ensure that they (traders) don’t have facility that enables persons to trade in stolen goods,” Mr. Samuda stressed.
Trade in scrap metal, inclusive of exportation, resumed on July 15, after being suspended the previous month by Mr. Samuda, consequent on what he described as “illegal activities that now pose a major threat to the economic development of the country and the disruption of essential services.” The Minister had raised concern over the reported rampant theft of essential infrastructure for sale in the trade.
The country earned some US$200 million from scrap metal exports last year.

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