Suspension implemented due to increasing thefts of public infrastructure, government says.
The Fiji Government has announced that the trade in all nonferrous scrap metal —with the exception of gold—will be suspended following a meeting of stakeholders, comprising the Ministry of Industry and Trade, Ministry of Defence [sic], Police and a number of other Fiji organizations. According to the Fiji government, the decision has been taken because of the deepening national crisis caused by the theft of public infrastructure for sale as scrap metal.
After the meeting, the Permanent Secretary for Industry and Trade, Shaheen Ali, said, “ Since the Ministry of Industry and Trade has the statutory powers of licensing and enforcement, it will take the lead role by forming a Compliance and Enforcement Working Group comprising the agencies such as the Ministry of Industry and Trade, Ministry of Defence, Police, RFMF, Department of National Trade Measurements and Standards, Director of Public Prosecutions, FRCA, Solicitor General’s Office, FEA, TFL, and WAF.”
The Compliance and Enforcement Working Group will ensure that all action, measures and monitoring is done within the ambit of the law, which is the Scrap Metal Trade Decree 2011.
“The Compliance and Enforcement Working Group will intensify monitoring of scrap metal trade, both at the border and the areas of operations of the licensed dealers. In this regard, cooperation has been assured by all the enforcement and border control agencies” Ali said.
“Effective from today (Nov. 9), the trade of all nonferrous scrap metal will be suspended. Nonferrous metals including but not limited to copper, aluminum, nickel, silver, tin, platinum, lead,” Ali adds.
“The recent thefts have caused major damage and expense to agencies such as FEA, TFL and WAF. The cost to the agencies runs into millions of dollars, which also results in the general public suffering due to disruption in essential services” said the Permanent Secretary.
The Permanent Secretary reminded the general public and licensed dealers to adhere to the laws regarding scrap metal trade and desist from participating in any illegal activity, including damaging public infrastructure for short term personal gain.
“Any breaches of the law will not be taken lightly and offenders will face prosecution and maximum penalties under relevant laws if found guilty,” Ali continues.