Government Spokesman has said that government is not going to lift the presidential ban on sale of scrap metals in the country any time soon.
Speaking in Kiambu town when he inspected the construction of civil servants’ houses, Cyrus Oguna yesterday said the government is concerned about vandalism of common user assets.
He said requests by dealers that they were ready and committed to regulate themselves was not convincing.
“Manhole covers, guardrails and transformers being vandalised and sold for peanuts,” he said.
This is after scrap metal traders, led by Evans Ng’ang’a, a spokesman of the traders, claimed the prohibition has spelled disaster for those who have relied on the trade for decades.
“But since January 20, we have not been in business and those we employ and their families have been affected,” he said.
The ban has hit battery manufacturers hard, with a multi-million recycling plant in Athi River expected to lay off thousands of people.
According to the Associated Battery Manufacturers (ABM), Chief Executive Officer Guy Jack the factory that recycles old batteries into pure lead and reusable polymers may close due to a shortage of raw materials.
“If the President’s decision forbidding the export of scrap metal is not communicated to local authorities, ABM, with a direct and indirect employee base of several thousand people, appears poised to close soon owing to a lack of raw material,” Jack said in a statement.
Unless the President’s decision against the export of scrap metal is conveyed to local authorities, the situation will worsen.
The coming shortfall, according to Jack, is due to enforcement agencies’ misinterpretation of a presidential edict prohibiting the export of scrap metals.
He further states the Athi River-based recycling business receives 2,000 tons of lead every month, which is sourced from used vehicle and solar batteries and processed back into pure lead.
“Unfortunately, since the presidential directive was issued, the plant has gotten next to nothing. “In the previous three years, ABM has invested well over Sh1 billion, all based on the availability of secure raw materials,” Jack remarked.
Last month, Kenyatta banned exports and dealings in scrap metal until proper guidelines are adopted to regulate the business, which is blamed for vandalism on critical infrastructure including power lines, bridges and railway lines.