Over thousand of scraps dealers in the Odododiodio Constituency of the Greater Accra Region, have threatened to hit the streets of Accra over the delays by the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MOTI) to relax the wholesale ban placed on the exportation of scrap metals in the country.
The leaders of the Concerned Scrap Dealers, a group advocating for the relaxation of the wholesale ban on scrap metals, gave this hint of the pending massive demonstration to demand the relaxation of the wholesale ban on the exportation of the scrap in an interaction with The Herald at Agbogbloshies in the Old Fadama area of Accra metropolis.
According to the Chairman popularly known as Kapito, is been over a month now when Parliament resumed, but members of the scrap dealers, have not heard of the amendment being announced on the floor of the House.
He said, serried of press conferences were held to drum home the plight of dealers, since the advent of the wholesale ban with the sector Minister, Haruna Iddrissu, promising to relax the ban to save the demise of the scrap industry, which brings huge foreign exchange into the economy.
He said, since the Ministry placed the ban on the exportation of scraps last year to ostensibly protect the five steel companies in Tema, the Deputy Minister for Trade and Industry, who is also the Member of Parliament (MP) for Odododiodio Constituency, the hub of scrap metal dealings in the region, has not taken the pain to alleviate their plight and interact with them.
He said, Nii Lante Vanderpuije, has shown the highest level of insensitivity to a large number of his Constituents, but hoping to come to them and canvass for their votes, when elections are due.
My brother, “I will rally the youth in this area to vote against Nii Lante Vanderpuije for that matter the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) for neglecting us at the time we needed him as our MP to speak on our behalf’.
He said, since the Ministry placed the wholesale ban on the exportation of scarp, the Deputy Minister being “our MP has not even called us as leaders to find ways to attend to some of our concerns”.
“Since the Minister made the promise to have the ban relax at a meeting in his office, no steps have been taken to have the law amended to create a window opportunity for dealers”, he said.
He went on, “We are aware the Minister is making some frantic efforts to have the ban relax, but the Deputy Minister is sleeping and we are by this medium assuring him that we will wake him up come 2016”.
He said, the ban over the past one year, has pushed majority of dealers out of business, thereby, creating a windfall for the steel companies to exploit scrap dealers, adding that the steel companies are offering low prices for materials supplied to them, because of the monopoly they enjoy in the industry.
“We cannot break even, because of the mode of payments adopted by the five steel companies and some of “us who have employed some youth to scavenge for the raw material (scraps) cannot have their salaries paid, because the steel companies are not paying on time”.
“When we nearly demonstrated at Agbogbloshie, the Minster promised to rectify the situation, but a year down the line, nothing has been done in terms of relaxing the ban, so that metals which are not needed by the steel companies in Ghana, could be exported to earn some foreign exchange”.
The Herald’s attempts to get the MP, Nii Lante Vanderpuije have proved futile.
The Deputy Minister, did not respond to the issues raised in a text messages sent to his phone. Calls to his phone were also not answered by him.
This reporter, last Wednesday visited the Deputy Minister’s office, but was told he had gone for a meeting organized by COCOBOD.