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Regulator suspends issuance of scrap metal export licenses

Scrap Metal Council (SMC) has suspended the renewal and issuance of export licenses with immediate effect until further notice.

The council reached the decision during an extraordinary meeting of the full council on Thursday following a resurgence of rampant vandalism of critical national infrastructure.

“The council also noted and agreed with the measures taken by the security agencies tasked with protecting critical national infrastructure in Embu to suspend scrap metal business in the county until further notice,” the council said in a statement sent to the editorials.

SMC called on all licensed scrap dealers nationwide to comply with the law and avoid inciting vandalism of critical national infrastructure and private property.

The council is a state corporation established under the Scrap Metal Act 2015 and mandated to regulate the scrap metal business in the country.

SMC added that it has renewed its commitment to the Ministry of the Interior and Coordination of the National Government regarding mapping and investigation of all scrap dealers in the country.

Retired President Uhuru Kenyatta President Uhuru Kenyatta on January 20, 2022 imposed an indefinite ban on scrap metal trading to curb rising vandalism at key facilities.

These include theft and vandalism of road barriers, guardrails, utility infrastructure, conductors, cables, copper handcuffs, track blocks and rails, transformers and other materials.

Uhuru called the theft “nothing less than economic sabotage, which is a betrayal.”

In April 2022, the Ministry of Industrialization and Commerce told the National Assembly in a report that the moratorium had reduced damage caused by vandals to infrastructure by Sh3 billion.

In January of that year, a breakdown in Kenya Power’s transmission line caused a blackout that affected customers across the country.

The outage was attributed to vandalism that caused a tower on the Kiambere-Embakasi high-voltage transmission line to collapse.

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