25 February 2013

Liberia: Scrap Dealers Envision Vibrant Sector - Earmarked U.S. Four Million Industrial Plant

The exportation of scrapped iron, as a new phenomenon in the economy which sprang up immediately after the civil war, has in a bid to make the sector more vibrant, envisioned the establishment of a US$4 million industrial plant to add value to iron products in the country.

Amidst challenges to engage the sector and make it more vibrant, the head of the elections commission of the Liberia Scrap Association Eric Alkins said in the absence of the provision of electricity in the country the sector finds it difficult to establish an iron melting industry.

Mr. Alkins noted that constructing a plant to melt high metal scrap (HMS level 1 and 2) requires adequate provision of electric power to keep the manufacturing plant operational.

"In order to melt high metal scrap in the country the industry needs about 25% of the total electricity supply of the entire country to keep the plant operational", the election commission chairman said.

Due to expiration of term of the president of the association, commission chairman added that the constitution provides that elections are held after every two year.

The former president Mr. Edwin Urey who then headed the association as a result of the expiration of his term, the association deemed it necessary to conduct an election in keeping with the mandate of its constitution.

Mr. Alkins added that the elections commission which is composed of 6 officials is overseeing an election after which those elected are to serve for two years. "This is our second time having elections of which the latter can be described as purely democratic indeed".

He pointed out that according the association's guidelines, those eligible to participate in the elections are registered scrap dealers who possess licenses and are regular tax payment with receipts and must be Liberians.

The commission chairman said as per the association's registry there are 319 electorates in Montserrado County even though there are plans to go to the other leeward counties. "We have chapters in Sinoe and Nimba Counties".

He said at the end of the election the association will be in the better position to intervene on behalf of the scrap dealers who might come in confrontation with other authorities.

"Though the government is giving us protection but in terms of what we are speaking about it is the protection of individuals and their businesses.

According to him, the association is working in collaboration with inspectors from the Ministry of Lands, Mines and Energy who on a regular basis conduct inspection of containers before it is finally shipped to partners in India, China and other countries.

In a statement, presidential candidate Alymer B. Johnson said should he win the elections, the establishment of a manufacturing industry for Liberian scrap dealers will be high on his agenda.

He pointed out that the sector is grappling with several challenges including a well coordinated leadership as well as the acquisition of small and medium-size entrepreneur loans for its members to improve their businesses, adding: "I will take the association to another level if elected to serve".

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