15 March 2014

Zambia: Lift Export Ban, Scrap Metal Dealers Plead With Sata

SCRAP metal dealers have appealed to President Michael Sata to lift the export ban on the commodity.

Chairperson of the scrap metal pressure group in Zambia Fabian Chisulo said lifting the ban would not only help the scrap metal dealers to grow from Small-Medium Enterprises (SMEs) into manufactures but also help grow the economy.

"Prices of scrap on the local market are not competitive compared to the foreign market," Mr Chisulo said. "So if we are allowed to export, we will be in a position to buy manufacturing smelters from foreign exchange earnings," he said.

President Sata on his face book page last week said his Government was implementing various strategies to ensure Micro, Small and Medium enterprises progressively migrated from small-scale entrepreneurs to medium and large-scale enterprises.

Mr Chisulo also said foreign earnings from exported scrap would enable the dealers contribute to the stability of the Kwacha.

The MMD in 2011 banned exports of scrap metal.

Mr Chisulo said before the ban in 2011, scrap metal dealers exported between 150 and 200 trucks of scrap a month to South Africa, injecting into the economy a maximum of one million rands a month.

"At the moment, the scarp metal market in Zambia is saturated as the biggest buyer, Trade Kings, had no market for its steel products," Mr Chisulo said.

"The prices of scrap are not only low in the country but dealers have no market as well because Trade Kings, our biggest buyer, has no market for its steel products. In fact, what has been happening is that from last year, Trade Kings buys scrap metal from the first (day) of each month to the 15th."

"And from May this year, the company will only be buying 5,000 tonnes of scrap from all the dealers, meaning that we will be out of business. So our appeal to the authorities is to allow us to export," Mr Chisulo said.

Mr Chisulo also stated that it was wrong to classify scrap metal as a primary product, saying it was a finished product.

"One of the reasons advanced at the time of the ban was that scrap metal was a primary product, which in fact is not," he said.

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