There’s still no word on if Government will implement a six-month ban on scrap iron exports but Minister of Trade Paula Gopee-Scoon assures an announcement will be made soon.
On August 5, National Security Minister Fitzgerald Hinds announced that the Government was proposing a six-month ban on the exportation of old and scrap iron, including copper, in response to widespread thefts of state infrastructure across the country.
However, the proposal has been condemned by the Scrap Iron Dealers’ Association, who has accused the Government of trying to hurt the poor people who are mostly involved in the industry.
Speaking the members of the media at the opening of the new Food Hall grocerant at the Piarco Plaza yesterday, Gopee-Scoon said contrary to what the association believes, the Government wants to see the industry thrive.
“Certainly, by all means, we want to see the growth of the industry, but not under the circumstances that we have seen in the last few months, where there’s significant theft of state assets and personal assets belonging to persons as well. So, it’s a serious matter. It has to be curbed,” Gopee-Scoon said.
Scrap iron thieves have disrupted nearly all the major utilities in the country due to their illegal activities. Telecommunications have been worst affected, as TSTT cables are often targeted, but WASA facilities have also been hard hit.
The scrap iron industry falls under the Ministry of Trade, through the Trade Licenses Unit, but Gopee-Scoon said the Ministers of National Security and Public Utilities will play a major role in the restructuring of the industry.
“I can give you the assurance that we have the interest, that as the Ministry of Trade, seeing the industry back on its feet there at the right time, but, of course, requiring the regulations et cetera, to be put in place and I’m sure the ministers will be addressing that,” she said.