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Central facility for scrap-metal industry

Published:Tuesday | March 30, 2010 | 12:00 AM
Photos of copper wire and pipes stolen for the scrap-metal trade, taken at the Gleaner office, North Street on Tuesday, January 26, 2010. - Winston Sill/Freelance Photographer

Daraine Luton, Staff Reporter

The Government is proposing to spend $20 million on a central facility for the storage and loading of scrap metal.

Details of the project are contained in the 2010-2011 estimates of expenditure, which was tabled in Parliament last week.

"This central facility will operate as a clearing house for the scrap metals to be exported, and will allow better monitoring by the Customs Department and law-enforcement officers," a notation in the national budget says.

When legislators begin combing through the estimates today, they will see that the allocation to the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce to regulate the scrap-metal industry has been doubled.

$10 million spent on regulation

Government spent $10 million in capital expenditure on regulating the industry last year.

The proposal by government for the establishment of the central facility, to be located in Lakes Pen, St Catherine, involves spending $3.5 million on utilities and $10.4 million on land and structures. The remaining funds are to go towards the purchase of goods and services.

Commerce minister Karl Samuda has been moving for tighter regulation in the scrap-metal trade, amid incidents of theft and vandalism of property.

Although a thriving business venture, the scrap-metal trade has facilitated widespread theft of railway lines, copper wires, manhole covers, bridge rails and telephone cables.