`Some people seem to want scrap metal trade to go away’ – Association Secretary

-sees draft Bill as overly restrictive

Michael Benjamin

As the local scrap metal industry awaits the ‘green light’ from government to resume the trade, Secretary of the Metal Dealers Association, Michael Benjamin  has told Stabroek Business in an exclusive interview that the feeling had surfaced in sections of the industry that there were people who simply wanted the business to go away.

Stabroek Business has seen a copy of the controversial draft Scrap Metal Bill 2017 which has been in abeyance for an extended period, and the passage of which in the National Assembly will determine the future of the trade. But Benjamin told this newspaper earlier this week that what was perceived by the traders to be “a run around” at the hands of government had created a high level of disillusionment amongst traders. “Frankly, there has been a loss of faith even in the Association since the members feel that we are not doing much to help the situation.”

This newspaper’s conversations with Business Minister Dominic Gaskin whose Ministry has responsibility for the scrap metal sector has found the Ministry taking the position that the necessity to properly regulate the trade which has been replete with irregularities over the years has meant that government has had to take its time to ‘get it right.’ Legislation aside, Gaskin has argued that it is necessary for an institutional framework to be put in place to properly manage the sector. In his interview with this newspaper, however, Benjamin said that the necessity to properly regulate the trade also had to take account of the consequences in terms of the length of time that the thousands of persons who are part of the trade have been out of work. According to Benjamin since the closure of the trade in 2015 there had been a few sporadic openings and closures with a few months of sustained work in 2016. “That has not been enough to sustain the people who depend on the industry for a livelihood,” he said…..

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