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Uncertainty looms on future scrap metal legislation

first_imgAlthough the legislation to monitor the trade of scrap metal is said to be in its final stage before passage and implementation, Business Minister Dominic Gaskin, who holds responsibility for the sector, said he was still not sure when the bill would be presented to the National Assembly.Gaskin made the disclosure during an exclusive interview recently conducted on the sidelines of an event.According to the Business Minister, the legislation is still with Attorney GeneralBusiness Minister Dominic GaskinBasil Williams’ Chambers.“The legislation as I mentioned a few months ago has been approved by Cabinet (so) it’s with the Attorney General Chambers. It is a complete piece of legislation; it’s not just a few amendments so it does take a little more time than normal amendments,” Gaskin informed.He went on to explain that the document was supposed to be brought to the National Assembly last December, but was further postponed owing to other matters which took precedence.Gaskin said, “The Budget and all the enabling amendments that had to be passed around the same time, I think those took priority, so I can’t tell you exactly when it will be passed, but I do know it’s in the final stages of conclusion in the Ministry of Legal Affairs.”Although he said the document was in its final stage, the Minister was unable to say when it would be presented in the National Assembly.He would only say that limited resumption of the scrap metal trade continues to rid storehouses of the materials.Last December, during the second day of consideration of the 2019 Budget estimates when Gaskin was questioned about allocations to various agencies under the Ministry, he informed that the legislation to govern the scrap metal trade would be presented this year.In June 2018, he had said that the new legislation was taken to the Cabinet and approved at that level. The next step, he had noted, would have been to approach the National Assembly.Government had approved a restart of the scrap metal trade in Guyana during February 2017 after closing down the industry one year prior to that.In April 2018, after several months of delays, Government decided to reopen the trade to facilitate the clearance of some of the accumulated scrap metal across the country.While a date for the full resumption of the trade had not been announced, Gaskin had told Guyana Times that the date depended on several important factors.The Minister disclosed that a meeting was held with exporters and dealers to introduce them to a new system that the Business Ministry was trying to implement.According to him, it is a software-based system that was specially designed to help the Ministry to monitor and regulate the trade once it resumed, creating a level playing field for all.Gaskin said the resumption of the trade would give the Ministry the opportunity to test the system to ensure that it was working and would also help to clear some of the accumulated scrap metal that has been legitimately acquired by exporters and dealers’ yards.It was after a forensic audit conducted by the Scrap Metal Unit (SMU) that Government had moved responsibility for the scrap metal trade from the Central Housing and Planning Authority (CH&PA) to the Business Ministry.last_img read more