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State accused of failure to implement scrap metal law

Tuesday, January 25th, 2022 08:30 | By
Joseph Kamau assists his grandmother Nancy Muthoni, gather scrap metals at their shanty home in Rurii, Juja constituency, Kiambu county. Photo/PD/James Wakahiu

Players in the scrap metal industry are blaming the government for failing to implement the Scrap Metal Act which outlaws export of the product. Last week, President Uhuru Kenyatta banned exports and dealings in scrap metal.

He said no dealer would be allowed to engage in the business until proper guidelines are put in place to regulate the sector.

“As of today, we will no longer allow, and we have put a moratorium on the export or the buying or selling of any scrap material until we have put in place proper guidelines that will ensure material is not coming from the hard-won investments that the Kenyan people have made,” he said.

But dealers blame failure to fully implement the Act for the woes in the sector. “We would not be here today had the government implemented the Scrap Metal Act to the letter. The law addresses all the problems affecting the industry,” said Peter Kimeu, a scrap metal dealer.

The ban comes at a time the country has witnessed an increase in cases of vandalism mainly on power lines. Public Interest Group in Scrap Metal Industry chairman Karanja Njoroge (pictured) said Uhuru should punish Ministry of Industrialisation officials for sleeping on the job.

“It came to us as a surprise when the President issued the directive on a matter which is already banned in law. What is lacking is the implementation of the law and the illegal trade will be tamed.”

Exports banned The Scrap Metal Act 2015 seeks to make provisions for the regulation and management of the scrap metal industry in Kenya.

It seeks to control and regulate the handling of scrap metal; the export of scrap metal; the licensing and registry and licensing of all scrap metal dealers and the provision for the establishment of a Scrap Metal Council for purposes of streamlining the management of the sector.

He said the assets were being stolen and sold to unscrupulous scrap metal dealers, metal recyclers and steel rolling mills. Meanwhile the Kenya Urban Roads Authority (Kura) director general Silas Kinoti has welcomed the President;’s move to ban trade in scrap metal, saying the move will help curb vandalism of road infrastructure.

“This is a new year gift to us in the roads sector. We have been suffering immense loses due to vandalism of road furniture. We hope that the relevant government institutions will implement the Presidents directive 101 per cent,” he said.

The President in giving the directive, called on the police and other relevant agencies to partner with Kura and curb vandalism. Last week, the Kenya National Highways Authority said that at least 260 police officers are attached to it to guard crucial infrastructure.

The agency said the officers have been briefed on beefing up security along major Highways and curb vandalism.

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