Lift ban on scrap metal exports — Forum

BY: Emmanuel Bruce
Mr Prince Bagnaba-Mba

The Forum for National Equity, a civil society organisation, has called on the government to review the blanket ban on the export of scrap metals.

Lifting of the ban has become necessary due to counter effects of the measure on the economy, as the local steel mills are unable to absorb the volume and type of scrap metals generated locally.

Besides, the ban has put the livelihoods of over two million dependents on the business in a balance since there are now more supply than the producers can absorb.

The President of the Forum, Mr Prince Bagnaba-Mba, told the Daily Graphic that the local mills lacked the capacity to absorb the entire volume of the scrap as well as the type generated domestically. 

Whereas light metals such as used steel and parts of machines and equipment could be processed locally, the local mills lacked the capacity in terms of equipment, skills and energy to process high carbon metals such as cast iron, engine blocks, mill liners, steel balls and ductile pipes.

The situation, according to Mr Bagnaba-Mba, has led to the unemployment of lots of scrap dealers along the value chain.

“Much as we agree that there is the need to protect local industries, we are of the view that you don’t kill an elephant to get maggots”, he said.

The trade ministry in 2013 placed a ban on the export of ferrous scrap metals in a bid to make more raw materials available to sustain the country's steel industry. 

“With a lot of small scale scrap traders, corporate and individuals running out of business because of the ban, we appeal that the high carbon metals which the local mills have no capacity for, and also far exceed their demand should be delisted immediately”, he added.

Mr Bagnaba-Mba, therefore, said the ban should be reviewed to allow the export of metals which were not needed locally, stressing, “Any nation that will focus only on domestic consumption and not export will fail”.

He said the review should invite inputs from stakeholders such as scrap dealers associations and the recycling companies as that would create a better fertilisation of ideas and enable the millions in the industry to contribute positively to the development of the country.