Passage of scrap metal legislation likely next year

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Minister of Business Dominic Gaskin

Government has pushed back the prospective deadline to bring the legislation to govern the scrap metal trade to the National Assembly, to next year.

This was revealed during the second day of consideration of the Budget 2019 estimates at Parliament on Tuesday.

At the time, Minister of Business, Dominic Gaskin was being questioned about allocations to various agencies under his Ministry.

Previously, Gaskin had been optimistic about bringing the scrap metal legislation to the House by the end of 2018.

In June last, he had said that the new legislation was taken to the Cabinet and approved at that level. The next step, he had noted, would have been to approach the National Assembly.

“Hopefully before the end of the year, we will 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,” Gaskin had told media operatives.

However, following that declaration, the legislation was finalised in the Attorney General’s Chambers and has since been awaiting passage in the National Assembly.

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 full resumption of the trade had 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 it is 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.

Following an audit, Government removed the responsibility of the trade from the Central Housing and Planning Authority to the Ministry of Business.

 

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