New rules to regulate scrap metal business

Thursday, March 17th, 2022 00:00 | By
Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i chairs a meeting on licensing of scrap metal dealers in Nairobi yesterday. Photo/Courtesy

The moratorium on scrap metals trade will not be lifted until the office of the Attorney General comes up with new regulations to control the sector.

Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i yesterday directed all scrap metal dealers will have to seek fresh licences from the Scrap Metal Council under new regulations.

The regulations that are derived from the Ministry of Trade and stakeholders’ recommendations on the control of the sector blamed for encouraging vandalism of critical infrastructure, also propose separate and special vetting of all copper dealers.

Only the government-owned Numerical Machining Complex (NMC) will be allowed to buy scrap metal disposed from critical national infrastructure such as roads and railways under the regulations.

The new requirements are a prerequisite for the lifting of moratorium on scrap metal trade announced by President Uhuru  Kenyatta on January 20.   

Matiang’i, who chaired a meeting, warned that the lifting of the moratorium, will be pegged on compliance with the new regulations.  The meeting was attended by the scrap metal dealers and regulatory agencies in the sector

“We are not going to allow the sector to continue operating in unlicensed manner, and no amount of political intimidation or pressure will make us abandon the resolve.

“We are not building infrastructure for scrap metals vandals. We would rather the scrap metal business died but we managed to protect our critical infrastructure,” the CS said.

Special unit

Attorney General Kihara Kariuki said he will advise the President against withdrawing the moratorium.

“As long as I am the AG of this country, I will not advise the President to lift the moratorium until we have the regulations in place,” he said.

Matiang’i says a special multi-agency unit had been set up to protect power lines and other critical installations. Under deterrence measures announced in January, vandals will be treated as economic saboteurs and charged under the counter-terrorism laws.

Trade Cabinet Secretary Betty Maina said only 20 scrap metal dealers are officially licenced in the country while 91 others have their applications pending. More than 3,900 other operators are operating illegally.

Energy PS Gordon Kihalangwa, who attended the meeting, said on average, 10-15 transformers were being vandalised in the country every week, while the cable line supplying power to the Nairobi Central Business District from Embakasi was recently stolen to feed illegal trade in copper. 

Losses of transformers have however been cut to around seven per week under new security arrangement, that placed power installations under the supervision of country security teams chaired by county commissioners. 

In the proposed regulations, licensed dealers, millers and smelters will be charged Sh250,000 in annual fees while the amount for agents and jua kali collectors will be Sh150,000 and Sh50,000, respectively. 

Declare details

Other requirements are that dealers must prominently display the name and license number of their businesses outside their facilities and keep receipts detailing the nature of the scrap metal, its source, previous use and the registration details of the vehicle and the driver delivering it if it’s ferried to the premises. 

They will also be required to belong to a Business Member Organisation and obliged to ensure they only trade with licensed dealers when sourcing or selling their stock.

To transport scrap metal, dealers will have to carry a copy of their license and obtain a letter authorising the vehicle to carry the load that must declare details of source and destination, type and quantity and name, ID and contact details of the driver. 

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