Scrap metal traders will have to abide by a number of stringent rules to keep their licences, when the trade officially resumes on Monday, January 28.
Announcing a raft of rigourous regulations at a press briefing at his New Kingston offices on Thursday (Jan. 24), Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Hon. Anthony Hylton, said there is a global demand for scrap metal. He said the Government’s focus is on tightening-up the system, and reinforcement, in order for Jamaica to benefit from the vital foreign exchange the industry attracts.
Under the new regulations, all exporters, except those who generate metal waste in their manufacturing operations, will be required to post a $7 million bond with the Factories Corporation of Jamaica (FCJ), which is in charge of the designated central multi-user sites.
“The intent is to apply a portion of the bond towards compensation for victims of theft,” Minister Hylton explained.
General scrap metal exporters will only be allowed to export from the designated multi-user sites. Two of these are already open – Riverton, and Elsbeth Avenue, off Hagley Park Road. An exporter, who is convicted of theft, will pay a fine of $2 million and lose their licence to operate.
“Customs and the police will be posted permanently at the sites and there will be one hundred per cent inspection of all containers…additionally, the police and Customs are authorised to carry out random checks at both exporter and dealer storage sites,” the Industry Minister said.
Material will remain on display at sites for five days to facilitate public viewing before loading can begin, and “anything remotely suspect will be detained for investigation by the police and Customs – this material is held for an additional 10 days to allow for viewing by the public,” he stated.
Additionally, Mr. Hylton informed that “all exporters are required to submit a police recommendation from a superintendent or an officer of greater rank…the Minister may also request a police report”.
He pointed out also, that all exporters, inclusive of dealers, carriers, and handcart transporters, must be in possession of a licence or permit from the Trade Board. Licencing fees range from $5,000 to $10,000. Non-Jamaican nationals must have a work permit.
Minister Hylton further outlined that special permits must be obtained from the Minister in order to export restricted materials such as irrigation pipes, railway lines, copper, I-beams, bridges, manhole covers and sign posts. He explained that it was with the support of a technical team that the Minister would make decisions about such requests.
The measures will be reviewed after six months, he said.
A website, www.scrapalertjamaica.com, has also been mounted by the Factories Corporation where the public can lodge complaints of theft. The site goes live on Monday.
Minister Hylton told journalists that all stakeholders have been consulted, and while some are still of the view that the trade should not be re-opened, the general feedback was to go ahead with its resumption.