SCRAP dealers have petitioned the Government over the suspension of metal scrap business. Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania recently agreed to suspend trade in and export of metal scrap.
Daudi Migereko, the energy minister, said the suspension was aimed at fighting electrical and water equipment vandalism, which has hard-hit the regional economy.
However, Deogracious Sekitoleko, the chairman of Jua Kali (blacksmith) and Scrap Dealers Association, said in Kampala over the weekend that the move was unfriendly to those involved in the business.
â€œIt is very unfortunate that the Government can come up with such an idea upon its own people.
â€œWe think there is need to meet all those involved in the business before any decision is made,â€ Sekitoleko fumed.
He explained that the move might lead to the loss of over 1,000 jobs.
This, he said, would pose a security threat in the city.
â€œEvery scrap dealer is registered under a certain association and those who do not have where they belong are the trouble causers to our business.
â€œThe Government has never come up to see how we operate. There is lack of supervision that is why many have become troublesome,â€ Sekitoleko said.
He said every scrap dealer in the association is given an identity card bearing their details and the position of work.
This, he said, was for easy monitoring aimed at avoiding problems such as vandalism.
Sekitoleko added that the industry contributes a lot to the economy through tax revenue.
It also improves the standards of living of the families of over 1,000 youth employed in the sector countrywide.
â€œFor us we trade with big companies and we buy in tonnes not in kilogrammes. Not all of us are engaged in electrical and water equipment vandalismg. Those involved I guess are not our members. Whoever has no identity card is an illegal scrap dealer,â€ he argued.
Scrap trade ban hits city dealers