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Scrap metal trade resumes next month after ban – Minister

first_imgAfter several months of delays, Government has decided to reopen the scrap metal trade next month 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, Business Minister Dominic Gaskin told Guyana Times on Monday that the date depended on several important factors.Business Minister Dominic GaskinThe Minister disclosed that a meeting was held with exporters and dealers a few weeks ago to introduce them to a new system that the Business Ministry was 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.“We’ve met with them, we’ve discussed it with them and we have arranged some training sessions for them to familiarise themselves with how the system will work, and we are looking to do a little resumption starting next month. I can’t give you an exact date, because it depends on a lot of things,” he explained.Gaskin said with the resumption of the trade, it would give the Ministry the opportunity to test the system to ensure that it was working, and also that it would help to clear some of the accumulated scrap metal that has been legitimately acquired from some of the exporters or dealers’ yards.Government had approved a restart of the scrap metal trade in Guyana in 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, as well as ensure that there was no pile-up of these materials.In September 2016, Cabinet accepted the proposal of Minister Gaskin to restart the scrap metal trade on the basis of a new menu of measures being put in place. This included putting together new guidelines and regulations. The trade had been suspended on June 15, 2015 to facilitate a forensic audit.Gaskin had said that the audit report advised that reforms be introduced into the system, including legislative amendments, new regulations, and smarter monitoring of the trade. And the Guyana Scrap Metal Association (GMRA) later came out stating its support for the new measures.In 2016, Ram and McRae, Chartered Accountants, produced a report on its findings from the probe, revealing a string of irregularities, including the mishandling of packing procedures for scrap and the expenditure of millions of dollars in the Scrap Metal Unit within the Central Housing and Planning Authority (CH&PA).To this end, Government removed oversight for the trade from the CH&PA under the Communities Ministry to the Business Ministry.LegitimacyMeanwhile, on another issue, Gaskin said that the Business Ministry was trying to determine the legitimacy of the newly-formed Guyana Metal Dealers and General Exporters Association (GMD&GEA). The Association has since taken the Government to task for the continued ban on the scrap metal trade.But Minister Gaskin told this publication that the Government recognised the GMRA, and was still trying to understand who the new Association really represented and whether there was some conflict between the two groupings. Until such time, the Government will continue to recognise the GMRA only.“I am not sure that I know enough about them and their membership. There is already an Association. I am not sure how the membership is divided, because one is claiming the same members the other one has. We need to get to the meat of that,” Gaskin related.The Minister said he did not want to mix the two up, and Government was just trying to find out more about the GMD&GEA before it decided to engage the body in any serious discussion regarding the sector.“I am just trying to find out who the body is before I engage them, because I don’t want to enter any discussion with a body that represents the industry and then find out that it is not so, or [that they do not] represent the members. I really need to get a better sense of who they are and who their members are,” he added.last_img

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