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Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Hon. Karl Samuda, has lifted the ban on the export of scrap metal effective Thursday (May 6), while announcing a raft of measures that will govern the industry for the next four months.
In a statement to the House of Representatives Tuesday (May 4), Mr. Samuda explained that the measures to be implemented include the ban on export of all items made of copper, until further notice.
“Persons who purchased copper prior to April 28 and can substantiate the source of these items will be allowed to export them up to May 12. Also no smelted metal of any kind will be eligible for export,” Mr. Samuda explained.
Only members of the Scrap Metal Federation will be allowed to export scrap metal. These exporters must confirm membership and demonstrate that their statutory obligations have been met, prior to being allowed to export.
The Industry Minister stated that a dealer who is unable to provide details as to the source of the scrap metal, in keeping with the provisions of the Trade Act, will not be granted a licence to export.
He added that teams inspecting the metals for export will include no less than three Custom Officers, a member of the police force and other stakeholders, including the National Water Commission (NWC), telecommunication companies, the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Ministry of Transport and Works and the Jamaica Public Service Company Limited (JPS).
“Following each inspection, the signatures of all the members of the inspection team shall be affixed to the relevant documents, failing which, no export licence will be granted by the Trade Board,” he said.
Mr. Samuda said preparations will be made for the establishment of a central loading site, where containers for exports will be loaded under the direct supervision of the strengthened inspection team.
“Exporters with industrial licences will not be required to load at the central loading site,” Mr. Samuda noted.
The Government had put a stop on all scrap metal trade effective April 28, with the exception of manufacturers who generate their own material and do not buy from other sources.
The decision had been made in the wake of the theft of millions of dollars worth of infrastructure across the island, most recently at the Colbeck Irrigation pumping station in St. Catherine, where scrap metal thieves vandalised critical agricultural equipment with losses estimated at some $5 million.