The Ministry of Trade and Industry is to present a revised Ferrous Scrap Export Bill, which is intended to relax the current ban on the exportation of ferrous scrap metal, to Parliament for consideration when the House reconvenes in October.

The sector minister, Mr. Haruna Iddrisu, after a meeting with steel manufacturing companies, scrap dealers and members of the Ferrous Scrap Metal Monitoring Committee, noted that the review of the current ban is necessary to allow for a ?window of opportunity for legal exportation of ferrous scrap on justifiable grounds, with the payment of export levy on the scrap by the dealers.?

The caveat in the proposed amendment is that only scraps that cannot be absorbed by local steel companies but are needed abroad would be allowed for export.

?The decision was taken as part of measures to streamline the demand and supply of ferrous scraps in the country,? a statement from the Ministry said.

The Ministry in the last quarter of 2002 issued a directive banning the export of all steel scrap from the country. However, export of scrap continued as the prices of the commodity soared on the international market.

It is estimated that about 600 tonnes of steel scrap are exported on an annual basis, thereby starving steel manufacturers of the needed raw materials and crippling their business. This led to a rallying call from the Steel Manufacturers Association of Ghana (SMAG) for an enforcement of the ban. The Ministry subsequently reaffirmed the existence of the ban.

However, the dependence of a large number of young people on the collection of scrap in the country led to calls by scrap dealers in recent months for a review of the ban.

The Global Anti-Incinerator Alliance (GAIA) estimates that about 15 million people in developing countries earn a living from collecting garbage?including the collection of scraps.

To ensure the mutual benefit of the current arrangement, where scrap dealers are to sell to local steel companies, Mr. Iddrisu, has directed steel companies to ?pay the scrap dealers within a period not exceeding 21 days after the supply of the goods.?

By Dominick Andoh

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