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Junk metal

traders cry foul over EU ban plan

<font face="arial, geneva, helvetica" size="2">Scrap metal dealers claim the government stands to lose "millions" in forfeited tax if a ban is imposed on exports to the European Union.The Kenya Iron and Scrap Metal Association (Kisma) says Sh20 million worth of waste copper, lead and cast iron is exported to Europe every month. However, reports of criminal activity in the industry may sway the State in favour of a ban.&nbsp;</font>

<font face="arial, geneva, helvetica" size="2">In an open letter to Finance minister Mr Amos Kimunya, Kisma chairman Dr Phillip Mwabe, appealed to the government to shelve the ban, arguing that "more than 600,000 Kenyans who depend on the trade might suffer".&nbsp;</font>

<font face="arial, geneva, helvetica" size="2">There are only five registered exporters of waste metal in the country. Central Bureau of Statistic figures put employment in the basic metal industries at about 5,000.&nbsp;</font>

<font face="arial, geneva, helvetica" size="2">"We export over 200 metric tonnes of waste metal every month to the London Metal Exchange (the world’s largest metal auction)," Mwabe said.&nbsp;</font>

<font face="arial, geneva, helvetica" size="2">Addressing the press at a Nairobi hotel on Tuesday, Mwabe said dealers in junk metal are likely to go underground following such a ban, denying the taxman revenue.&nbsp;</font>

<font face="arial, geneva, helvetica" size="2">"We fear that the Kenya Association of Manufacturers, Kenya Power and Lighting Company and Telkom Kenya may have tried to influence your ministry to ban the export of scrap metal," Mwabe wrote.&nbsp;</font>

<font face="arial, geneva, helvetica" size="2">KPLC alone has in the past reported losing cables worth Sh60 million every month to vandals seeking copper scrap.&nbsp;</font>

<font face="arial, geneva, helvetica" size="2">Mwabe disputed the argument that trade in scrap metal fuels the theft of copper cables from Telkom and KPLC. He argues that thefts from the parastatals are inside jobs that are products of poor management.&nbsp;</font>

<font face="arial, geneva, helvetica" size="2">"Scrap dealers found to be involved in such scams should be dealt with as individuals," he said.&nbsp;</font>

<font face="arial, geneva, helvetica" size="2">Local politician and scrap metal dealer Mr Irshad Sumra, who has a case in court on suspicion of dealing with stolen property, attended the meeting.&nbsp;</font>

<font face="arial, geneva, helvetica" size="2">Mwabe claimed that stolen scrap accounts for only two metric tonnes out of the 200 exported every month. The rest, he said, is collected from the Dandora dumpsite and beefed up by imports from Rwanda and Burundi.</font>

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