Sunday, September 20, 2020

New scrap metal regulations spells doom for local scrap collector

A positive metal prices globally spells doom for a scrap metal collector in Old Naledi who has no knowledge about the metal prices influenced by global commodity prices.

A native of Old Naledi location in the capital Gaborone, Bakang Monnapula find himself caught in a  local scrap dealers, foundries and government  brawl that could leave him with nothing to take home after toiling to find something to feed his family.

The brawl in scrap metal has left Monnapula with no option to question fluctuating prizes offered at a nearby scrap metal which have been solely blamed on Investment Trade and Industry’s ministry directive that forced local dealers to sell scrap metals to locals’ foundries as opposed to exporting to neighbouring South Africa.

The ministry directive which compelled the local dealers to sell to local foundries has not only disadvantaged  Monnapula as local foundries refuse to buy scrap metals based on international commodity prices as it was agreed when government moved to force local scrap dealers to sell scrap metals to local foundries.

Monnapula who collects scrap metals in the vicinity of Commerce Park, Gaborone is not aware about the politics that has left him vulnerable to the dynamics at play on a commodity that is driven by global commodity prises.  

“I consider selling to anyone who offers a better prises. The prices fluctuate every time and I am not privy to what could be the reason. I choose a scrap dealer who offers a better prise for me to take something home at the end of the day. I need to feed my family. I don’t have time to argue on how prices of steel in the international market vary”, says Monnapula.

In an attempt to save Monnapula from the jaws of local foundries the Botswana Scrap Metal Association has approached the Competition Authority to end monopoly that came as result of the directive that forced locals to sell to local foundries.

According to Botswana Metal Recycle Association (BMRA) the directive has encouraged monopoly among local foundry which are not eager to buy scrap metals based on global prices as it was agreed.

BMRA Coordinator Monedi Kgweenyane says the regulation on export of scrap metals has not only disadvantaged individuals such as Monnapula but also to local scrap dealers who are buying from individuals such as Monnapula since it encouraged monopoly.

“There is only one foundry at the moment in Botswana and those in business are expected to sell only to a local foundry which creates monopoly. They are not conforming to the agreement which emphasised the need to buy scrap metals from local dealers who are not offering market prices for metals”, says Kgweenyane.

Meanwhile the Botswana Chamber of Mines (BCM) said that it is hopeful that a small man who collects the scrap metal to make a living is not disadvantaged when it comes to metal prices that are influenced by the global market.

BCM, Chief Executive Officer, Charles Siwawa says there was no upsurge on metal prices currently compared to 2002.

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Sunday Standard September 20 – 26

Digital copy of Sunday Standard issue of September 20 - 26, 2020.