Scrap metal dealers oppose ban

A load of scrap metal in Nairobi’s Industrial Area. Photo/FILE

Scrap metal dealers on Wednesday opposed a government plan to ban the export of lead.

Mr Philip Mwabe, the chairman of the Kenya Iron and Scrap Metal Association, said the Ministry of Industrialisation had not consulted his office before announcing its intention to effect the ban.

“We have several lead smelting factories in the country and if the government gazettes the ban, it will affect thousands of people,” said Mr Mwabe during a scrap metal dealers’ meeting at Sapphire Hotel in Mombasa.

The unionist said lead exports bring in a large amount of foreign exchange and that the ban would be punitive.

He said the government should introduce policies to restrict the trade instead of banning it completely.

“We ask Industrialisation minister Henry Kosgey to consult the dealers first,” Mr Mwabe said.

He suggested that the ministry introduce a system of closely monitoring and regulating the exports through registered dealers.

Mr Hassan Irungu, one of the dealers, asked the government to support local industry.

“Kenya is capable of producing many products by using scrap metal if dealers are supported, but they have been neglected by the government,” he complained.

Mr Ishad Sumra, the association’s secretary general, said more than 800 scrap metal dealers would be affected by the ban.

He urged the government to lift the ban on the export of copper wires, steel, and aluminium.

“We shall move to court to challenge the minister should he go ahead and gazette the proposed ban,” said Mr Sumra.

He expressed concern that, despite efforts by the government to control the trade, vandalism cases had increase across the country.

The businessman also accused some scrap metal dealers of exporting copper despite a ban and asked the government to investigate the traders who were breaking the law and prosecute them.