From Samuel Menash Torbizo, Kumasi
Local scrap dealers at Suame Magazine, the industrial and technological hub of Ashanti, are on the heels of Mr. Haruna Iddrisu ,the Trade and Industry Minister for his mind boggling and inhumane decision to place a ban on the exportation of scrap metals.
According to them, they were suspicious of how the minister maneuvered Parliament to ban the exportation of scrap metal early this year, in order to safeguard the local steel companies.
They averred that Mr. Iddrisu failed to take into account the plight of the local scrap dealers before rushing to parliament.
The aggrieved scrap dealers have threatened to hit the street to register their protest very soon, if the minister fails to relax the ban on their activities.
The spokesperson of the Concerned Scrap Dealers Association, Mr. Abdul Latiff Adams, expressed the disgust of the association at a packed news conference at Suame.
He told the media that they were of the expectation that the ban was ostensibly to protect the local steel industries, but things had rather turned very sour for them, as some foreigners have taken over the business from them.
Mr. Latiff Adams explained that after they have had two separate press conferences to alert Mr. Iddrisu about their plights, he rather remained adamant.
“We wish to state categorically that we are not against the move by the government to protect the local steel companies but the situation where some foreigners are allowed to purchase the scraps from us at low prices and resold them to same local companies at exorbitant costs is our major concern,’’ he noted.
Mr. Latiff Adams revealed that before the ban came into force , shredded steel or mixed steel for instance, was sold for Gh¢620.00 per tone but as at now the steel companies have taken advantage of the ban to buy a tone of same metal Gh¢400.
He said, aside the low price being paid to them, local companies which buy the scraps from them, do not pay promptly and this has resulted in them being indebted to their bankers.
” As we address you now, close to twenty million Ghana Cedis (GH¢ 20,000,000) is being owed us by theses local steel companies, “he indicated.
He said as most of the scrap dealers are Muslims, it has become very difficult for them to go through the period of Ramadan, because they ought
to provide for their families.
He noted that countries like Dubai and India have over hundred steel companies, yet their governments allowed the exportation of scrap metals.
According to him, the ban was a hash one, because it has the tendency to render many persons in the scrap business unemployed.
” The minister must give ears to our call instead of trying to throw us out of job,” he remarked.
They appealed to President Mahama to exert his executive powers on the minister to lift the ban on their work.
Also, they urged him (President Mahama) to set up a monitoring team to check the export of scraps not wanted by the local steel companies to fetch foreign incomes for the country to help in realizing the Better Ghana Agenda.