JIS News

Acting Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Reginald Budhan has strongly stressed the need for stringent measures to be implemented for the smooth and legitimate operation of the scrap metal industry.
Mr. Budhan was speaking at a June 12 meeting with scrap metal operators and the Commissioner of Customs, Danville Walker to identify practical solutions to improve the regulation of the industry following continuous incidents of metal theft across the island. The meeting, held at the Kingston offices of Jamaica Trade and Invest, focused on the reasons for the suspension of scrap metal exports and the way forward for the local trade.
The Acting Permanent Secretary pointed out that while the Ministry is committed to facilitating production, commerce and employment, it will not tolerate activities that destroy the country’s infrastructure.
“The Ministry has a very keen interest in facilitating the creation of employment and we see the scrap metal industry affording this but we have to be very clear that it (the industry) cannot continue the way it has been going on.if we do not conform, we may not have an industry,” Mr. Budhan stated.
On the matter of possible solutions, the Scrap Metal Association presented six recommendations including the need for fewer facilities that could be more properly managed and regulated.
The Association also proposed that random checks be carried out at exporters’ premises by the police and representatives from all the key entities that are affected by theft; special licences be granted to copper exporters; and that the police be sensitized about the laws and regulations in order to enforce them.
In going forward, the stakeholders were informed that over the next four weeks, the Customs Department will assess the existing sites and approve those that will be allowed to operate in the short-term, while identifying three to four central facilities that will be established in the long-term.
At the end of the four-week review process, another meeting will be held with the stakeholders and a decision taken regarding the resumption of exports.
The Government, last year, introduced regulations for the sector, due to the alarming increase in the theft of metals, including those that support the country’s infrastructure.
According to figures provided by the Jamaica Exporters’ Association, scrap metal exports moved from US$13.3 million in 2005 to US$99.58 million in 2006, registering an increase of more than 600 per cent in one year.

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