Scrap metal dealers protest ban on the sector

  • The dealers held a meeting with Trade Cabinet Secretary Betty Maina.
  • They will however have to wait longer to reopen their businesses after the government insisted that they must register with their associations.
  • The ban declared by President Uhuru Kenyatta followed increased cases of vandalism of Kenya Power infrastructure.

Transport along Ngong Road in the Upper hill area was disrupted for the better part of Tuesday afternoon after scrap metal dealers blocked sections of the road protesting against the ban on their business.

The dealers who held a meeting with Trade Cabinet Secretary Betty Maina will however have to wait longer to reopen their businesses after the government insisted that they must register with their associations and pay licensing fees.

The angry dealers blocked the road leading to Milimani Law Courts expressing their disappointment following a three-month ban on their business.

The ban declared by President Uhuru Kenyatta followed increased cases of vandalism of Kenya Power infrastructure which led to a countrywide power outage in January.

Kanyoro, one of the dealers, said: “Tulifungiwa kwa sababu ya nyaya ambayo haijafika tani 12, na circulation ya chuma Kenya mzima hata Nairobi inafanyangwa matani na matani…hakuna mtu ako jua kali ako na uwezo wa kufungua hiyo nyaya ya stima, kwa hivyo Kenya Power wachunguzwe wao wenyewe.

Another, Pascal Omondi, said: "Hizo regulations alituekea ni kweli kabisa inatuumiza na sisi tungetaka atujali pia kama wanakenya kwa sababu watu wa boda boda kazi yao ilifungwa kwa siku mbili na siku ya tatu ikafunguliwa.”

The dealers say the conditions put in place by the government which includes payment of Ksh.250,000 to operate are stringent and there is need to review the new regulation.

“Kuna leseni inalipishwa Ksh.250,000, ingine Ksh.100,000 na ingine Ksh.50,000..na si wote tunaweza pata hiyo pesa, kuna watu wa kiwango fulani fulani, ndio tungeomba Mr. President tupunguzie mzigo,” said Anthony Githinji.

The dealers marched to the Ministry of Trade and Industrialisation where they met CS Betty Maina who insisted that they must adhere to the new regulations before the moratorium is lifted.

Evans Ng’ang’a, Chairman, Knight Iron and Scrap Metal Dealers Association, said: “Hajasema ile siku watatufungulia kazi lakini kuna maneno fulani kama licensing ya members wetu serikali imesisitiza sana…lazima members wetu waweze kujiandikisha ili serikali iwe na data ya wale wanafanya kazi hii.”

Ng’ang’a said so far only 500 dealers have registered with the three associations, with only 250 members paying the Ksh.50,000 licensing fee which was reviewed from Ksh.250,000.

"Tumeongea na members wetu, wale ambao wanauwezo pre-finance wale hawana ili hii number serikali inahitaji tukuwe na line up mzuri ya watu wengi ambao tukipelekea serikali wataweza kutuamini sisi,” he said.

For these dealers, a proper plan by the government to reopen the sector will save hundreds who depend on it for their livelihood.

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CS Betty Maina Kenya Power President Uhuru Kenyatta Scrap metal

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