Govt promises new legislation governing scrap metal exportation before year-end

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Government is expecting to have new legislation with regards to the exportation of scrap metal by the end of 2018.

Minister of Business Dominic Gaskin

This is according to Business Minister, Dominic Gaskin who made this announcement at the sidelines of an event hosted by the Georgetown Chambers of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) earlier today (Monday).

The Minister explained that the new legislation was taken to the Cabinet and approved at that level. However it is presently being finalised at the Chambers of the Attorney General.

The next step, he noted, will be to approach the National Assembly.

“Hopefully before the end of the year, we wil have a new legislation.  We will have a new software system that we are using and we will have a Board of Directors to oversee the scrap metal unit and i believe we’ll have something firm and solid in place to regulate the scrap metal industry,” he told media operatives.

Government had approved a restart of the scrap metal trade in Guyana during February 2017 after closing down the industry one year prior to that.

The main reason for this, was to allow exporters, to ship out the existing stock for a limited period of three months, and ensure that there is no pile up of these materials.

However, in April 2018, after several months of delays, Government had decided to reopen the scrap metal trade on a limited basis to facilitate the clearance of some of the accumulated scrap metal across the country.

While a date for the resumption of the trade has not been announced, Gaskin had told INews that the date depends on several important factors.

The Minister disclosed that a meeting was held with exporters and dealers to introduce them to a new system that the Business Ministry is trying to implement.

According to him, it is a software system that was specially designed to help the Ministry to monitor and regulate the trade once it resumes, creating a level playing field for all.

Gaskin said with the resumption of the trade, it will give the Ministry the opportunity to test the system to ensure that its working and also that it will help to clear some of the accumulated scrap metal that has been legitimately acquired from some of the exporters or dealers’ yards.

Meanwhile, the metal associations and the workers themselves are still pleading for consideration to be given to their trade, while highlighting that the ban itself has rendered them financially insolvent.

While there were always issues surrounding the he management of the trade, the trade itself was suspended in June 15, 2015 due to a forensic audit of the Scrap Metal Unit (SMU).

However, following the audit government removed the responsibility of the trade from the Central Housing and Planning Authority to the Ministry of Business. (Ramona Luthi)

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