The ban is to be lifted gradually lifted from 1 May for licensed traders ©  Photo by Simon Maina/AFP via Getty Images
The ban is to be lifted gradually lifted from 1 May for licensed traders © Photo by Simon Maina/AFP via Getty Images

Scrap metal dealers to be licensed after ban fails to stop thefts

posted by Andrew Allen
in Law
28 April 2022

Kenya is to lift a ban on scrap metal dealing in favour of a licensing system for dealers as it struggles to stop thieves ripping up public infrastructure to sell on.

The country’s capital, Nairobi, had imposed a total ban on scrap metal dealing on 20 January to prevent criminals targeting public utilities to steal transformers, transmission lines and other parts of road and rail infrastructure.

The ban is to be lifted gradually lifted from 1 May, but only licensed traders will be able to deal in scrap metal.

Betty Maina, cabinet secretary for industrialisation, trade, and enterprise development, said licensed dealers, millers and smelters will pay fixed fees for scrap metal.

Multi-agency teams established in each county will vet potential licensees.

“All persons dealing with scrap metal must apply for a licence,” she said, adding the rule would also apply to collectors, agents, stockists of second-hand metal parts, motor vehicle salvage operators, electrical rewinders and local welding machine fabricators.

“The multi-agency team should ensure all members exercise patience as the process is being undertaken.”

Anyone who trades scrap metal without a licence could be fined up to 10m Kenyan shillings ($86,200) or imprisoned for three years.

“Every licensed dealer shall carry a certified copy of the licence and the recipient of the scrap metal on any vehicle that is being used to transport any scrap metal,” Maina added.

In February, SM reported that vandalism of power infrastructure in Kenya had led to blackouts affecting the Nairobi.

Uganda also responded to widespread theft of metal from public infrastructure by imposing a total ban on the sale of scrap.

In South Africa, public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan has also mooted a ban on the sale of scrap metal. 

The proposal came after parts of the country’s once extensive railway network were rendered inoperative as a result of widespread theft of cables, tracks and transformers.

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