In a joint effort, the Ministry of Trade and Industry, in partnership with the Ministry of Homeland Security, have implemented a six-month suspension of scrap metal exportation to combat the increasing incidents of vandalism and illicit trade.
In a press statement made available to Nthanda Times, Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Trade and Industry, Christina Zakeyu, says the decision comes in response to the alarming rise in vandalism cases targeting essential infrastructure such as ESCOM, Waterboard, telecommunication networks, and railway lines.
“There is empirical evidence that those involved in the malpractice, sell the materials as scrap metal to fulfil their business requirements which is not in tandem with our national development agenda,” reads part of the statement.
Zakeyo added that the two ministries have implemented a six-month suspension period to overhaul and sanitize the scrap metal trade to address the issue.
Among other efforts, the two ministries have also halted issuance of export licenses for scrap metals, rendering all previously issued licenses null and void.
“During the duration of the export ban, the two ministries will undertake several crucial steps to regulate the industry effectively. First, they will review the existing Second-hand and Scrap Metal Dealers Act of 1971 and develop accompanying regulations to strengthen its provisions. Additionally, a comprehensive registration process for all second-hand and scrap metal dealers will be conducted in collaboration with the Ministry of Homeland Security. This initiative aims to ensure accountability and transparency within the sector,” reads the statement.
Furthermore, the ministries will work towards formulating rules and standard operating procedures that govern the scrap metal business across the country. These guidelines will contribute to maintaining ethical practices and preventing the illegal trade of stolen infrastructure materials.
The two ministries have meanwhile urged stakeholders to take note of these developments and cooperate with the Malawi Police Service to facilitate the registration process. As per the law, the Ministry of Homeland Security, through the Malawi Police, will oversee the registration procedures.