State to lift ban on scrap metal trade - CS Matiang'i

Matiang’i warned that the lifting of the moratorium will be pegged on compliance with regulations.

In Summary

•Kariuki said he will advise the President against withdrawing the moratorium until the majority of the dealers complied with the regulations.

•“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.”

Interior Cabinet secretary Fred Matiangi at a past event.
Interior Cabinet secretary Fred Matiangi at a past event.
Image: FILE

All scrap metal dealers will have to seek fresh licensing by the Scrap Metal Council under new regulations being finetuned by the Office of the Attorney General.

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

Only the government-owned Numerical Machining Complex will be allowed to buy scrap metal disposed from critical national infrastructure such as roads and railways under the regulations that are a prerequisite for the lifting of the moratorium on scrap metal trade announced by President Kenyatta on January 20, 2022.

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

“We are not going to allow the sector to continue operating in an 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,” the CS said.

Attorney-General Kihara Kariuki said he will advise the President against withdrawing the moratorium until the majority of the dealers complied with the regulations.

“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.”

According to Matiang’i, 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 CS Betty Maina said only 20 scrap metal dealers are officially licensed in the country while 91 others have their applications pending.

Over 3,900 other operators are essentially operating in the sector illegally.

Energy PS Maj-Gen (Rtd.) Gordon Kihalangwa said on average, 10-15 transformers were being vandalized 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 a 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 Shh150,000 and Sh50,000 respectively.

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 (BMO) 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 authorizing 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.

If the NMC is unable to absorb scrap metal disposed from a critical infrastructure, the regulations propose that the management of the infrastructure be required to engage a local smelter directly without involving a broker.

The Wednesday briefing meeting was also attended by the Inspector General of Police Hilary Mutyambai, and representatives from the Directorate of Criminal Intelligence (DCI), the Kenya Revenue Authority, Kenya Railways, road authorities, Kenya Association of Manufacturers and various scrap metal dealers’ associations.

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