A monitoring committee has been set up by the Ministry of Trade and Industry to ascertain the impact of the ban on the export of steel from the country.

The sector minister, Mr Haruna Iddrisu, who disclosed this in an interview with the Daily Graphic, said ?the monitoring committee chaired by the chief director of the ministry is to do a strong monitoring on the ground and if there is evidence that the product is not needed by the steel companies, the government will consider an option out?.

Late last March, the legislation, known as Ferrous Scrap Metals (Prohibition of Export) Regulations, 2013 (L.I.2201), came into force, making it a criminal offence to export scrap metals from Ghana.

But since then, the local scrap dealers have kicked against the ban and used all manner of means to register their protest against the move by the government to what they described as deliberate attempt to deny them their daily bread.

But Mr Iddrisu said, ?The policy intention is very clear ? to support and protect the steel industry in Ghana and to assure them of the availability of raw materials to process scrap into iron rods; to provide employment to Ghanaians, provide reduced iron rods and more at prices cheaper than those imported outside the country?.

?We need to build a strong manufacturing sector in the country and that is why we are taking measures to protect those we have while doing all we can to help the new ones,? he said.

He said having engaged the scrap dealers at some level and the steel companies and manufacturers at another, there seem to be a will for a compromise in terms of the pricing regime which has not necessarily disadvantaged the scrap dealers.

In that regard, the minister said both parties needed to work with each other and not through agents who seem to be the ones creating confusion in the system when it came to pricing.

Mr Iddrisu said the report from the committee would recapture sales at the steel companies and see if there were purchases or not.

?The report so far on the ground shows that the steal is being purchased and being paid for. They are heavy so one cannot expect quick offloading. But I have directed the steel companies to ensure the speedy offloading and also pay on time to avoid some of the agitation in that direction?, he said.

Source: Daily Graphic

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